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Recombinant protein production in E. coli

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  • Full or part time
    Dr T Overton
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Many therapeutic proteins, for example recombinant human insulin, are made in the bacterium Escherichia coli. Bacterial fermentation is a preferred production route for many proteins as it is a relatively cheap and simple process when compared to production in eukaryotic hosts. However, bacterial production of recombinant proteins is not perfect, as many proteins are difficult to manufacture in a functional, correctly-folded form. Research in my lab focuses on ways in which these protein production processes can be improved, through a combination of whole process design, optimisation and monitoring. We are interested in high cell density cultivation using fed-batch methods, single cell analysis using flow cytometry, coupling of fermentation to cell harvest and product release, and stress minimisation methods for optimisation of protein folding and bacterial viability. A PhD project in this area will include many of these aspects with the objective of improving process yield.

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Funding Notes

If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work on this project will be considered.
You can search for sources of funding at:


1. Hsu CC, Thomas ORT, Overton TW. (2015) Use of stress minimisation to optimise the fermentation-downstream processing interface for periplasmically-targeted antibody fragments synthesised in Escherichia coli. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology DOI: 10.1002/jctb.4672
2. Wyre C and Overton TW (2014). Use of a stress-minimisation paradigm in high cell density fed-batch E. coli fermentations to optimise recombinant protein production. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology 41: 1391-1404
3. Wyre C and Overton TW (2014) Development of flow cytometric analysis of bacteria on agar plates: implications for bioprocessing. Biotechnology Letters 36: 1485-94
4. Overton TW (2014) Recombinant protein production in bacterial hosts. Drug Discovery Today 19: 590-601

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 32.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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