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The Department's buildings are currently open for wet laboratory work only. We have carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and have introduced a number of new measures to ensure the safety of our staff, including reduced building occupancy, strict social distancing, 'family'-based working, and increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. All staff who can work remotely will do so for the foreseeable future. Please continue to contact us by email until further notice.

Department of Biochemistry


Wolfgang Koch


I studied Food Science and Biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna and received my BSc in 2013. In course of my bachelor’s thesis in the group of Prof. Florian Rüker I worked on the cloning, screening and characterization of novel antibody fragments, so called Fcabs (Fc antigen binding). After a 3 month placement in the group of Prof. Julia Vorholt at ETH Zurich (Switzerland), were I worked on enhanced expression of encoded enzymes for introduction of methylotrophy in E. coli, I continued my MSc in Biotechnology in Vienna, which included a semester abroad at the University of Georgia (USA). In course of my master’s thesis in the group of Prof. Andreas Plückthun at the University of Zurich, I worked on the characterization and affinity maturation of DARPins binding the oncofetal receptor human ROR1.

Training and Transferable Skills:

  • High-throughput screening
  • Ribosome Display
  • Bacterial, Yeast and Mammalian cell cultures
  • Methods in molecular biology
  • Methods in Biochemistry (HPLC, SEC/MALS, FACS, SPR, etc.)
  • Protein expression and purification (small and pilot scale)

Research Projects:
As of today, enzymes constitute promising advantages compared to other strategies in therapeutic approaches. Other than antibodies and related scaffolds, enzymes can neutralize several target molecules rapidly, which would allow lower dosing and decrease the potential of side effects. However, the required high specificity of enzymes in medical applications make it difficult to engineer both, binding and catalytic function, at one site. My project aims for a modular drug discovery platform for novel protease based drugs that combine a protease activity with a substrate binding moiety, effectively circumventing the challenge of combining both attributes at a single site.