Final Thesis

MorphOracle – Predicting Productivity by Measuring Morphology

Key Info

Basic Information

Biochemical Engineering
Forschungspraktikum for Biotechnologen
Focus/Key Topic:


Filamentous fungi as superior cell factories

Filamentous fungi are often superior to bacterial and yeast based production systems due to their metabolic versatility, robustness and secretory capacity. The benefits of fungal cell factories for white and red biotechnology are demonstrated by the increasing number of established large-scale manufacturing processes and proofs their key importance for a sustainable bio-economy [1]. As the fungal morphology has critical implications for product titer and process stability it is crucial to measure and optimize the morphology for an improved performance of large-scale production as well as small-scale screening systems [2].

Morphology monitoring and quantification

During your project, you will work with a unique fungal strain that exhibits a well-controlled morphology and is already in use by global players of the pharmaceutical and chemical industry. Your first task will be to investigate how the progression of non-invasive online signals (respiration rate, scattered light, fluorescence…) correlates with the morphological development. During the second step you will evaluate how this correlation can be used to predict production specific parameters as titer or productivity.

To achieve those goals you will perform experimental work in the lab as well as employ most or all of the following technologies/methods:

During your project, you will get…

  • … an introduction into a seminal topic with the flexibility to introduce your own ideas
  • … the chance to work on a topic where your results may have a direct impact on a real process
  • … a dedicated supervision

For this project, you should be…

  • …motivated to dig deep into a multifaceted topic at the intersection of natural and engineering sciences and discuss your ideas
  • …enthusiastic to work in the lab and to get to know, understand and apply novel technologies
  • …determined to show a reliable, independent and result-oriented work ethic

Your research internship on this project should start between February and March 2020. If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact me. Whether in English or German, I will gladly provide you with a more detailed project description at a personal meeting.

[1] Meyer et al. (2016), Fungal Biol Biotechnol; Current challenges of research on filamentous fungi in relation to human welfare and a sustainable bio‑economy: a white paper

[2] Cairns et al. (2019), Biotechnology for Biofuels; Moulding the mould: understanding and reprogramming filamentous fungal growth and Morphogenesis for next generation cell factories