Dr. Sonia Chachra


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Dr. Sonia Chachra (the first MCGS post-doctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Moerschbacher) worked on a novel fungal chitosan hydrolase with a unique substrate specificity leading to the generation of chitosan oligomer mixtures containing no isobaric products. These oligomers, therefore, can be fully purified using size exclusion followed by cation exchange chromatography, and fully characterized using mass spectrometry, in collaboration with the group of Dr. Mormann. Sonia tried almost any possible way to identify the gene coding for this chitinosanase, including mass spectrometric peptide sequencing in collaboration with Prof. Hippler and screening of a cDNA expression library in collaboration with two biotech companies, Artes and Geneart, but without success. In collaboration with the group of Prof. Balamurugan, she converted a dimeric chitinosanase product into the corresponding oxazoline and purified it in collaboration with the group of Prof. Hensel. Using a recombinant bacterial chitinase with transglycosidase activity, she polymerized these activated dimers into larger oligomers which should have a fully defined architecture, to be verified by mass spectrometry in collaboration with the group of Dr. Mormann.
After the end of her two years of MCGS post-doctoral position, Sonia continued in the group of Prof. Moerschbacher, financially supported by the European research project PolyModE. She is now living with her husband in Frankfurt, preparing for her next post-doctoral project, hopefully in France where she intends to study biomedical activities of the chitinosanase products.


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