A feature of BRIC 2 is the increased focus on skills development activities. In 2010, after discussions with the BRIC Skills Working Group, a dedicated doctoral programme was launched for BRIC. This PhD programme aims to improve the supply of skills to industry and academia in the bioprocessing sector. The programme includes structured training that exposes students to industrial practices and needs.
Our vision is to provide PhD students with a first-rate, challenging research training experience within the context of mutually beneficial research collaboration, between academic and partner organisations. Each project is linked with a specific BRIC industrial member partner that provides additional input and supervision to the project. Each project features a placement at the non-academic partner for a minimum of three months and up to 18 months.
At the heart of the programme is a research training project which provides the student with the opportunity and skills to:
- make a novel contribution to industrially relevant research in bioprocessing
- develop an increased understanding of the challenges facing the industry in the bioprocessing sector
- develop a knowledge of industrial research practices
- improve business skills including team working, leadership, project management and communication
- develop an awareness of how industry and academia can successfully engage with each other and the barriers that can prevent this.
The BRIC programme complements the EPSRC-funded Doctoral Training Centres at Newcastle and UCL that are relevant to the bioprocessing sector and other EPSRC studentship investments, by supporting training with a biosciences focus.
A third call was launched in August 2012 and awarded 10 studentships in partnership with BRIC member companies:
- Development of high density CHO cell culture manufacturing systems
- Visualising the aggregation prone surfaces of antibody fragments by dynamic force spectroscopy
- Prediction of stable and transient expression of recombinant proteins from CHO cells based upon translational reprogramming
- Predicting and Controlling Aggregation for mAbs during Bioprocessing
- Linking Protein Stability and Expression for Optimal Biomanufacturing by CHO Cells
- Enhancing recombinant protein secretion and quality in CHO cell bioprocessing
- Image correlation spectroscopy analyses: promising screening tools to predict protein aggregation
- Manipulation and exploitation of microRNAs for enhanced recombinant protein production in CHO cells
- Synthetic Biology Platform Development for CHO Cell Design and Engineering
- Development of improved bioprocessing methods for the manufacture of a vaccine against meningococcal meningitis.
A second call was launched in October 2011 and awarded 10 studentships in the bioprocessing area:
- Simplified in-process detection of protein higher order structure and aggregation
- Analysis of protein secretion bottlenecks in Pichia pastoris
- Unravelling the relationship between IgG yield, recovered/observed clonal numbers and specific integration site on the yield of IgG in CHO cells
- The development of Raman spectroscopy for online monitoring of industrial bioprocesses
- Application of arginine glutamate in protein bioprocessing and formulation
- Development and optimisation of a high-throughput profiling platform for assessment of recombinant protein structural variants
- Development of novel bacterial ‘bioreactor’ organelles for authentic synthesis and PTMs of mammalian recombinant proteins
- An investigation into the immunogenicity of human therapeutic proteins
- Development of novel methods for periplasmic release of biotherapeutic products
- Engineering cells for antibody production.
The first call awarded eight studentships in partnership with BRIC member companies:
- Linking high throughput cell culture multivariate analysis and economics for more effective process integration
- Microscale freeze-dried and liquid formulations of therapeutics to investigate the relationship between forced degradation and long-term shelf life
- Understanding on-column protein aggregation and its impact on bioprocessing
- Controlling liquid-liquid phase separation in antibody formulations
- Protein burden in protein overproduction
- Development of a computational tool for predicting the impact of bioprocess conditions on protein glycosylation
- Development of single molecule assays for the detection of aggregation within high concentration protein therapeutics
- An upstream platform for the production of high grade heterologous proteins in Pichia pastoris.
BRIC skills development school
As part of BRIC, students and early career researchers are given a unique opportunity to attend the BRIC skills development school. Researchers take part in an intensive, week-long course which aims to develop transferable, industrially relevant skills and a commercial awareness of the bioprocessing sector. The school, hosted by a BRIC industry member, provides students with an insight into the challenges that face the bioprocessing industry and shows how these problems can be overcome. BRIC students are contacted directly about attendance at an appropriate stage during their projects.
Dr Mark Bustard, BRIC Coordinator
Telephone: 07920 202649