Master Project in the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry

MASTER THESIS: Uptake and Metabolism of Plant-Derived Compounds Involved in the Biosynthesis of Leaf Beetle Defensive Compounds

Leaf beetles of the subtribe Chrysomelina occur widespread within diverse ecosystems all over the planet, e.g. here in Jena, as exemplified by the green dock beetle (Gastrophysa viridula), which can be found at the Wenigenjenaer Ufer. These insects produce secondary metabolites that are of high importance for their survival. For this de novo production, various precursors are taken up from the ingested host plant leaves after digestion. We are interested, to which extend the particular compounds contribute to the anabolism of the defensive compounds. These questions should be addressed by means of analytical (NMR, GC-MS, LC-(HR)MS) as well as synthetic (isotopic labeling) approaches.

General information:

  • We are searching for a student that is interested to work in the field of analytical and synthetic chemistry
  • To perform quantitative and qualitative chromatographic and NMR analyses of natural samples from plants and insects, especially larvae
  • As well as on-demand synthesis of labeled naturally occuring intermediates
  • Guidance and support by experienced researchers will be provided
  • The project can also be conducted as a “Projektmodul” or a Bachelor Thesis
  • The target of this project is a publication in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal within the field

Contact information:
Your main supervisor will be M.Sc. Tobias Becker (PhD thesis submitted) as well as experienced researchers including Project-Leaders, PostDocs and PhD students under the direction of Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Boland, Director of the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology (Beutenberg Campus, Jena). If you are interested in this project, please contact me via email (tbecker [at] or via phone (03641 57-1206).