The Team

Current group members and Alumni of the Designer Glycans lab

Dr. Cătălin Voiniciuc – Group Leader

Education: Ph.D., summa cum laude (RWTH Aachen University, Germany), M.Sc. (University of British Columbia, Canada), B.Sc., with distinction (UBC)

About me: My graduate research in Vancouver (Canada)Jülich (Germany) and Versailles (France) identified novel regulators of polysaccharide structure using Arabidopsis seed mucilage mutants. In May 2016, I moved to Düsseldorf to lead a synthetic biology team that combined genetic engineering and carbohydrate biochemistry to produce plant polysaccharides in yeast. Since January 2019, I lead an independent research group at IPB Halle to gain further mechanistic insight into the synthesis of matrix polysaccharides.

Hobbies: family-friendly activities, football, and exploring Germany

Annika Grieß-Osowski – Ph.D. Student

Education: M.Sc. (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany), B.Sc. (HHU)

About me: Throughout my B.Sc., I focused on metabolic pathways related to photosynthesis and biomass production in response to high light acclimation and carbon dioxide availability in Chlamydomanas reinhardtii and Arabidopsis thaliana. After exploring the influence of training interventions on type-2 diabetes mellitus during my M.Sc. thesis, I decided to rekindle my passion for carbohydrate biochemistry in plants. Therefore, I am happy to have the opportunity to investigate the mechanisms that regulate the elongation of plant cell wall polysaccharides.

Hobbies: sports, going for walks, cooking with friends and watching anime series

Dr. Bo Yang – Postdoctoral Researcher

Education: Ph.D. (RWTH Aachen University, Germany), M.Sc. (Huazhong Agricultural University, China), B.Sc. (HZAU, China)

About me: My research has focused on plant cell wall related studies since my master thesis. I first investigated how cell wall composition impacts the efficiency of lignocellulosic enzymatic hydrolysis in various energy crops and analyzed the rice glycosyl hydrolase 9 (GH9) family. Then I studied novel genes involved in seed coat mucilage synthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. I will now decipher heteromannan substitution and function using a synthetic biology approach in yeast and Arabidopsis.

Hobbies: Ping Pong, Swimming, Cooking

Madalen Robert – Ph.D. Student

Education: M.Sc. (Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg), B.Sc. (Westphalian University of Applied Sciences)

About me: My Bachelor focused on the development of technical innovation based on various biological phenomena. Here I discovered my passion of using nature to solve relevant technological issues. Therefore, I studied molecular biosystems during my M.Sc. in order to understand complex biological processes on a system level to allow their specific alteration for various purposes. Now, I am happy to pursue my passion for the understanding of nature’s work-principles, by studying carbohydrate binding modules (CBM) as tools for designer cell walls.

Stefanie Clauss – M.Sc. Student

Education: B.Sc. (Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg)

About me: I completed my Bachelor’s degree at the Martin Luther University in 2019. During my bachelor thesis and my bachelor studies, proteins were the main focus. The work as a scientific assistant offers me a great opportunity to get more practical experience in a new field, the plant cell wall polysaccharides. I am also very interested and fascinated by plants because plants are the main producers of biomass. I am looking forward to the new aspects and challenges.

Hobbies: running, hiking, baking


Want to work with us?

Position available: An M.Sc. internship/thesis is available.

Students interested in combining synthetic biology and carbohydrate biochemistry should inquire via email about potential projects.

Scientists interested in applying for Ph.D. or postdoctoral fellowships to join the lab should express their interest via email, including their motivation and CV.

December 2019 Lab Photo – Julian, Catalin, Annika, Bo, Christine, Benita and Stefanie