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Development of continuous bioprocess for production of virus-like particle vaccines (up- and downstream)

   School of Chemical Engineering

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  Mr LG Gerstweiler  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Virus-like particles (VLPs) are highly efficient future vaccine and drug delivery platforms, with a high interest in academic and industry. Manufacturing of VLPs however is complicated and hard to scale, making them among the most expensive vaccine candidates. A possibility to reduce costs and improve product quality is the transition from a batch process to an integrated, automated and continuous process, which has been researched for monoclonal antibodies in the past. Continuous production of VLPs is in its infancy currently. The aim of this project is therefore to develop a continuous platform process for the production of VLP vaccines. This will include the development of continuous purification using periodic counter current chromatography and continuous filtration, as well as continuous upstream processing (the exact focus of the project will depend on the candidate).

Student requirements

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a master’s degree in Bioprocess engineering, Chemical engineering, industrial biotechnology or related fields. As a PhD student a high level of independence is expected. Ideally the candidate has already gained experience in the manufacturing of VLPs, chromatography, yeast fermentation and a basic understanding of programming (Python, R, C, Matlab etc.) as well as protein analytics.


The University of Adelaide has invested over $3 million in new Biomanufacturing and Nanoparticle Fabrication laboratories. The facility has plasmid DNA fermentation, purification (batch and continuous), lyophilisation, transcription, microfluidic lipid nanoparticle fabrication, in vitro and in vivo study capabilities. Analytical instruments include dynamic light scattering, differential scanning calorimetry, isothermal titration calorimetry, HPLCs, and GC-MS along with standard spectroscopy, high resolution fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, plate reader.


The project will be supervised by Dr. Lukas Gerstweiler and another senior academic depending on the final project focus.


The University of Adelaide offers fully funded Research Scholarships of $AU 28,854 p.a.


Please prepare a cover letter outlining your interest in the project, your skillset and motivation as well as a brief introduction of yourself. Please also attach your CV and transcript of records, publication list and abstract of your thesis. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application deadline is 03.01.2023, suitable candidates will be contacted thereafter for interviews. 

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