About the Project
The cryopreservation and subsequent revival of mammalian cells are core operations associated with biopharmaceutical and advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). Historically, cryopreservation has been focussed on small volumes of 1 mL in cryovials. However, the trend towards process intensification in vaccine and biopharmaceutical production and the advent of ATMPs is driving a need for robust, reliable cryopreservation and revival of larger volumes in cryobags.
Within the biologics and vaccine production space, there is a strong drive to intensify processes, shortening cycle times, increasing productivity and reducing costs. One tactic is to increase the volume of cell suspension cryogenically frozen during cell banking, resulting in a greater cell number being present on Day 0 of the drug substance process and hence, reducing the duration by a significant number of days. In the case of ATMPs, the product of interest is often the cell itself eg CAR-T therapies. The cell suspensions produced need to be cryogenically frozen in cryobags for shipment to the patient and subsequently thawed prior to administration. The volume varies with dosage but can be expected to range up to 500 mL.
There are significant challenges associated with maintaining the viability and functionality of cells during freezing and thawing: exposure to toxic cryopreservants eg DMSO, generation of ice crystals which can damage the cell, loss of viability due to oxygen and/or nutrient depletion during holds. Increasing the volume handled from 1 mL up to 500 mL magnifies the challenges as the time taken to freeze and thaw extends and the cell suspensions are exposed to gradients with respect to temperature and concentration. There is currently limited information available on mammalian cell cryopreservation and revivial at volumes above 1 mL.
The aim of this project is to take a blended modelling and experimental approach to investigate the effect of freezing and thawing conditions on larger volumes of cell suspensions in cryobags with a view to maximizing cell quality.
- Hold (or soon to hold) a primary degree in Chemical / Biochemical / Bioprocess Engineering
- Motivated, curious and enthusiastic with an excellent academic record
- Ability to work independently and part of a team
- Demonstrated experience in process modelling / simulation using one or more of the following: MATLAB, gProms, Dynochem, Aspen, or similar
- Applications are welcome from qualified applicants of any nationality
To apply, please go to https://forms.gle/pmxk7vpCAq9n5TmJ7
Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by June 2021.
Start date is from September 2021 (flexible as required).
The PhD student will be paid a stipend and have all tuition fees paid.
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