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Biosciences (University of Kent) collaborative PhD with University College London and Lonza Biologics

4 Year Collaborative EPSRC sponsored PhD studentship
between the University of Kent (Canterbury), University College London (UCL)
and Lonza Biologics (Slough).

Project Title: Enhancing Primary Recovery Efficiency of Recombinant Proteins from CHO Cell Culture Harvest Material via a knowledge of cellular lipid contents and their fluctuations.

The project will focus upon characterising the diversity of the Chinese hamster
ovary (CHO) cellular lipid profile during fed-batch culture and how this
changes over time and between clones, and subsequently influences primary
recovery efficiency. The influence of cellular lipids on recombinant mammalian
cell productivity and primary recovery steps has largely been ignored, despite
the fact that ever-increasing amounts of cell biomass is being achieved in the
bioreactor and lipids constitute up to half of the dry mass of mammalian cells
and can impact upon the efficiency of primary recovery steps. This project will
(i) define the CHO cellular lipid profile for a model system and seek to gain
an understanding of how this changes during culture and at harvest, (ii)
develop knowledge as to whether the target recombinant protein influences the
lipid profile and the ease with which these are removed, (iii) seek an
understanding of the relationship between lipid components in the cell culture
supernatant and primary recovery efficiency, and (iv) design bioprocesses to
limit lipid impact on primary recovery steps. The principal aims of this work
are therefore to test the over-arching hypothesis that identification and
characterization of the major cellular lipid components of CHO cells will allow
the development of a knowledge based approaches to design more efficient or
alternative purification strategies and the rational selection and/or
engineering of host cell lines to limit the levels of potentially problematic
lipids during primary recovery processes.

The project will directly supplement on-going research at the University of
Kent, UCL and Lonza Biologics and as such will be a highly complementary
project that harnesses the established competencies of all collaborating
partners, whilst the student will be at the interface of this relationship and
able to gain experience from both perspectives and skill bases. The
experimental approaches will include molecular biology, protein analytical
technologies, cell culture, protein biochemistry/analysis, downstream
purification and primary recovery approaches. This is a rare opportunity for a
student to undertake basic biological research and then apply the findings in
an industrial setting. The studentship will involve undertaking research at
both the academic and industrial site although it is anticipated that the
majority of the time the student will be based at the University of Kent. The
student will be required to undertake some research work at UCL and complete a
formal training requirement of attending 18 training events taken from a mix of
compulsory EPSRC CDT courses at UCL supplemented by some from the host
Institution (Kent).

The studentship pays the UK Research Council stipend
of £14,553 (rate for 2017/18) plus tuition fees at the Home/EU rate.

Informal enquiries can be addressed to Prof Mark
Smales in the School of Biosciences; email c.m.smales@kent.ac.uk


The successful candidate will have a degree (or expect
to) at 2(i) or higher in Biochemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Biochemical
Engineering or a related subject.

UK residency criteria apply. To be eligible for a full
award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK
and have been ordinarily resident* in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the
start of the studentship. (*For EU applicants this includes for study

How to apply

To apply for this project please submit an on-line
application for the PhD Biochemistry at https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/229/biochemistry. Please enter the
project title as the proposed research topic and enter Prof Mark Smales as
supervisor. For the research proposal please enter "as advertised".
Please include a cv and a covering letter.


22 March 2017

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