Research Interests

  • Valorisation of biological waste through cell-free synthetic biology.

  • Cell-free assembly of natural and non-natural biocatalytic pathways.

  • Protein biochemistry and application of biotechnological relevant proteins

  • Molecular capture and rapid detection techniques for environmental pathogens.

  • Smart binding peptides, protein/enzyme immobilisation.

  • Nanoparticles biofunctionalisation.

If you have interest in any of the research areas listed above and would like to apply for a competitive scholarship in one of the following schemes, please send me your CV for consideration (email here):

Cell-free enzymatic synthesis of platform chemicals



The enzyme-catalysed transformation (biocatalysis) of cheap, renewable substrates into valuable bulk or specialty chemicals is a promising technology for sustainable and green manufacturing. Advances in enzyme expression systems, enzyme engineering, in silico modelling and prediction of enzyme kinetics has facilitated the assembly of enzyme into synthetic and highly efficient production pathways. This concept has recently been implemented to design enzyme pathways in a cell-free context as opposed to the traditional approach of utilising microbial hosts. Cell-free biotechnology is one of the promising approaches that offer complementary advantages to in vivo metabolic engineering, allowing for high control over reaction conditions, enzyme ratios and pathway flux.


We have recently established two novel cell-free multi-enzyme pathways for the bioconversion of renewable organic waste into valuable bio-based building blocks for industrial applications. This PhD project will deal with the combination, optimisation and/or modification of the developed pathways to improve substrate utilisation and product yields. The project will use an array of biochemical methods such as: discovery or design of new enzymes, enzyme engineering, high throughput flux analysis, kinetic modelling and bioprocess engineering.


The successful student will join a dynamic and motivated team with a multidisciplinary approach to research. The ideal candidate must have a strong background in molecular biology and/or synthetic biology, biotechnology or biochemistry. Practical expertise in protein expression and purification, enzyme kinetics and characterisation as well as HPLC analysis of metabolites is highly desirable. In addition, the applicant will have a demonstrated aptitude for undertaking and managing laboratory work independently, an understanding of the field, and excellent communication skills.


Please apply ONLY if you have:

  • Completed a 2-years Master of Research with a major research component and examined Thesis

  • Excellent academic records

  • Evidence of peer-reviewed research activity, such as publications and/or conference presentations

  • Proof of English Proficiency either through an academic IELTS or a TOEFL test. Please see here the required levels of English proficiency.

Please refer to the University HDR Entry Criteria for more eligibility information.

Send your detailed CV and supporting documentation for assessment as soon as possible to:

A/Prof Anwar Sunna (email here



Sydney is Australia’s largest and most diverse city, with some of the highest living standards in the world. Sydney is a modern and stylish city that is renowned worldwide for its beautiful harbour, beaches, and national parks.

Would like to pursue a PhD at Macquarie University in 2019? 

©2018 by Sunna Lab

Department of Molecular Sciences, Macquarie University