9 September 2019

Congratulations Cuiwei!

Friday September 6th DynaMo PhD scholar Cuiwei Wang successfully defended her PhD thesis and was awarded the PhD degree.

In front of colleagues and friends Cuiwei Wang successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled: Identification and heterologous expression of biosynthetic genes for glucosinolate production.

Cuiwei with the traditional PhD hat and the nice chinese cakes for the reception

The overall objective of Cuiwei’s PhD project was to engineer the production of glucosinolates (GLS) in yeast and Nicotiana benthamiana.

Cuiwei Wang identified enzymes in the 2-phenylethyl GLS pathway and successfully produced 2-phenylethyl GLS in Nicotiana benthamiana. She deciphered the roles of the BCAT4 and MAM1 enzymes in the chain elongation machinery from Barbarea vulgaris and Arabidopsis thaliana in profiling of chain-elongated amino acid derivatives. For the first time, she characterized the substrate specificity of members of CYP79C family, CYP79C1 and CYP79C2, in GLS biosynthesis. Even though the genes are not expressed in Arabidopsis, heterologous expression showed that they are involved in the production of 2-methylpropyl GLS, 1-methylpropyl GLS, benzyl GLS and indolyl-3-methyl GLS. Cuiwei Wang optimized the production by modulating sulfur metabolism and enhancing the flux at the entry point to the pathway. Finally, Cuiwei Wang engineered the methionine chain elongation pathway from Arabidopsis into yeast.

Cuiwei holds Master of Engineering in Biochemical Engineering from Shihezi University & Beijing Institute of Technology (dual degree), China before she started as a PhD student in January 2016 at the DynaMo Center with Professor Barbara Ann Halkier as main-supervisor and Assistant Professor Christoph Crocoll as co-supervisor.

After her defence Cuiwei will continue as postdoc at DynaMo.