Annika Hein

Annika Hein

Engineering N-N bond forming enzymes for novel reactions

Host/Lead University: University of Groningen
Main Supervisor: Dr. Sandy Schmidt
Secondments: University of Graz; University of Zagreb; AstraZeneca

My way into science started with a bachelor’s degree in the multidisciplinary study program Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Here, I received comprehensive education and in-depth knowledge in pharmaceutical research, bioinformatics and biophysical chemistry.

I further continued this path with a master’s program in Biochemistry first at the University of Leipzig and later at the University of Greifswald (both also in Germany) where I specialized in the fascinating field of biotechnology and enzyme catalysis. Here, I had the opportunity to be part of a project that dealt with the engineering of self-sufficient P450 monooxygenases and enzyme library development which became also the topic of my master’s thesis. The very nice experience in the project and the international team motivated me to continue with a PhD in the fascinating field of enzyme engineering and to apply my acquired skills to a new and challenging project. Now, I will focus my research on the engineering of nitrogen-nitrogen bond forming enzymes for the application in drug discovery.

If I had not become a scientist, most likely I would have studied mechanical engineering because it also requires analytical and solution-oriented thinking and creativity.

Outside the lab, I love to relax with a cup of tea and a good book. Further, I enjoy spending time in nature and on the water. I am a passionate equestrian and sailor.  In contrast to most people in science I am not a coffee addict and avoid contact as much as possible.

After this doctoral network, I want to apply the skills I will acquire during that time to possible own ideas and projects that will hopefully contribute to a more sustainable future.