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My SuBiCat Secondments by Selin Ace, RWTH Aachen

Submitted on: 22 February 2017

Working on the biological side of lignin valorization is very challenging since the nature of the research requires highly interdisciplinary work. Producing lignin-degrading enzymes in decent amounts and carrying out the characterization assays using simple and unspecific substrates is not sufficient. Every enzyme needs to be characterized using more-complex lignin-model compounds and eventually artificial and natural polymeric lignin samples in order to develop efficient methods.

As a biochemist working on the biological valorization of lignin, I am grateful to have the opportunity of fulfilling two secondments in School of Chemistry (University of St Andrews) and Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group (Utrecht University) under excellent supervision. During my secondments, I had the chance to test my recombinant enzymes on lignin-model compounds that were synthesized by the project partners. I gained experience in common analysis technics by NMR, LC-MS and HPLC, which are required for precise analysis of the enzymatic reactions on model compounds and lignin polymer. The data I obtained during my secondments, made a significant contribution to my PhD thesis and will be used in the publications in near future.  I believe my secondment experiences have enlarged my view in the field and will help me a lot to strengthen my background in the field of biological lignin valorization.


  • March-April, 2016: School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews. Supervisors: Dr. Fanny Tran / Prof. Nicholas Westwood.


  • October, 2016: Inorganic Chemistry & Catalysis group, Utrecht University. Supervisors: Dr. Christopher Lancefield / Assoc. Prof. Pieter Bruijnincx.