Staff

Oliver Brandenberg

Dr. Oliver Brandenberg

Research Scientist

Department Environmental Chemistry

About Me

I am a biochemist, but have explored a variety of research interests throughout my academic journey. In my early undergraduate studies (coming fresh from civilian service in environmental protection) I was interested in ecology and spent some time as research assistant in the aquatic ecotoxicology group of Thomas Braunbeck in Heidelberg. Later, my focus shifted to biochemistry and I did my diploma thesis on structure-function studies of ribosome-protein complexes. I continued to study large macromolecular machines during my Ph.D. with Alexandra Trkola at UZH, this time with a focus on the HIV envelope glycoprotein trimer and its function during virus entry and evasion of the human antibody response.


After the Ph.D. I wanted to loop back towards environmentally applied research and obtained a postdoc position with Frances Arnold at Caltech. Here, I learned about the principles of green chemistry and the amazing power of directed evolution to repurpose proteins for useful, new-to-nature chemical reactions. Following this, as a postdoc in Leonid Kruglyak’s lab at UCLA, I designed a project on a topic I had long been interested in: enzymatic plastic degradation. I used a combination of metabolic engineering and my skills in protein biochemistry towards endowing Pseudomonas putida with the ability to degrade and grow on PET plastics; while not entirely successful, this was a highly rewarding endeavor.


At EAWAG, I will work with Elisabeth Janssen and Olga Schubert (UMIK) on the development of new biosensors for cyanotoxin detection, based on a combination of aptamer and CRISPR technologies. I’m excited to learn about the challenges and approaches towards monitoring cyanotoxins in Swiss lakes, and to contribute novel solutions. This position is on a 60 % basis; in the remaining time I’m pursuing personal freelance projects in the area of sustainable biotechnology.

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Publications

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Address

E-Mail: oliver.brandenberg@eawag.ch
Phone: +41 58 765 6463
Fax: +41 58 765 5802
Address: Eawag
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Office: BU F20

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