Category: Early Careers

PhD: Developing novel biosensors for monitoring antibody production in CHO cells

The biopharmaceutical market is valued at over 100 billion dollars per year with the majority of therapeutic antibodies being manufactured in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. However, the process of generating monoclonal antibody (mAb) producing cell lines suitable for commercial manufacture remains challenging, time consuming and costly.

The cellular pathways underpinning antibody production in CHO cells have been extensively studied over the past 10 years; however, it is still unclear which pathways are most important for this process (protein folding, protein transport and cell stress). The aim of this PhD is to facilitate a deeper understanding of CHO mAb production cell lines by investigating the intracellular phenotypes of CHO cell lines which are producing and secreting monoclonal antibodies. Using the knowledge gained we aim to define a phenotypic fingerprint which correlates with favourable manufacturing and product quality characteristics. Once these fingerprints have been defined, a series of novel fluorescent tools for monitoring them will be developed and applied to our cell line development platform to allow screening for optimal mAb producing cell lines in the earliest stages of cell line development.

This project will provide training in advanced mammalian cell culture, fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry and access to state of the art, high-throughput, automated systems for cell culture (Berkeley Lights Beacon) and phenotypic analysis (Intellicyt iQue)   in place at the GSK laboratories.

The studentship is available starting in October 2017. This project is collaboration between Dr Andrew Peden at the University of Sheffield and Dr Robyn Emmins, GSK Biopharmaceutical Process Research, Stevenage. Candidates should have a strong academic degree in the biological sciences. The successful candidate will be highly motivated, work effectively in a team setting and be interested in cell biology, protein trafficking and technology development.

For an informal discussion regarding the post, please contact:
Dr Andrew Peden
Dr Robyn Emmins

This is a BBSRC-funded Industrial CASE PhD studentship and is full time for four years. The stipend will be £17,553.00 per annum. Applicant eligibility criteria for the studentship can be found at and you must identify that you fit these criteria prior to application.

The Bioprocessing Skills School

September 11-15th, 2017 National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, Darlington

Do you want to find out how your career might develop working for industry, the differences between industrial- and academic-driven research and how the industrial environment matches your career ambitions?

At our week-long, intensive residential training programme, designed around the insights of industrialists, you will take part in group-based activities and work with real-life industrial case studies. The programme is designed to engage with the process of entrepreneurship and focus on the development of the ability to promote research ideas.

If you are an early career researcher working in the area of bioprocessing of biopharmaceuticals  on a project that has an industrial collaborator then this could be an ideal opportunity for you. Apply for registration:

Biotechnology YES2017 is open!

Take part in YES17 this autumn and spend three days immersed in developing enterprise skills; thinking creatively to produce innovative solutions to major challenges; and discovering how to communicate research with impact.

YES is a must for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers wishing to:
enhance CVs
develop transferable skills
cultivate business acumen
become career-wise
collaborate with peers and network with industry experts
pitch for a share of the £7,500 prize fund
More information:

Application deadline: 9 July 2017

14th Annual bioProcessUK Conference 2017

Now in its 14th year, the Annual bioProcessUK Conference continues the tradition of showcasing emerging talent in biological medicines through the Bursary Poster Prize Competition.

The conference is offering up to 30 bursary places (free conference ticket plus expenses of up to £180) to early career researchers selected to display a poster showcasing their research in biological medicines and bioprocessing.  A selection of the submissions will be invited to take part in the early career researchers session in the conference programme, where they will take to the stage with a two slide, two-minute ‘poster flash’ oral presentation.

The winning poster, as judged by the conference delegates, will receive an Apple iPad kindly sponsored by Pall Life Sciences. Displaying a poster at the conference is beneficial to the career and professional development of early career researchers and by participating in the Poster Prize Competition it will provide the opportunity to make connections , enhance professional development
and present research.

Closing date for submissions is Friday 15 September. To enter a poster into the competition, abstracts of no more than 200 words should be emailed to Dannielle Sinclair by Friday 15 September 2017.  Click here for submission guidelines and here for the conference website.

BioProNET- and PHYCONET-funded bursaries – microalgal synthetic biology

BioProNET and PHYCONET are funding bursaries to present a ‘microalgal synthetic biology’ talk at the 2017 Microbiology Society meeting in Edinburgh.

The annual conference of the Microbiology Society will be held in Edinburgh from April 3-6, 2017, and will feature a 2-day symposium on ‘Synthetic and Systems Approaches to Microbiology‘ on April 3rd and 4th. An important component of this symposium will be a session on Engineering of new-generation microalgal cell factories’ featuring several key speakers (see below). This session will include 6 x 15-minute offered talks, to be chosen on the basis of submitted abstracts. BioProNET and PHYCONET are funding £300 bursaries to contribute towards registration, travel and accommodation for the 6 persons selected to give the offered talks.

Anyone interested in presenting one of the offered talks should send a 1-page abstract to the organiser of the session, Professor Colin Robinson with full contact details. The abstract should describe the nature of the talk, which should cover research in microalgal synthetic biology or exploitation. Abstracts will be judged by a small panel and we are particularly seeking submissions from early-career researchers. Deadline for submission is November 30, 2016

The programme is still being finalised but confirmed speakers and programme are as follows:
Monday April 3rd:
Prof Lynn Rothschild, Head of Synbio, NASA
Prof John Ward, University College London, UK: Using bacteriophages to make novel nano-scale devices
Prof Jeff Hasty: Transferring plant pathways into microbes
Prof Fernando de la Cruz, Universidad de Cantabria: Systems approaches to studying regulatory networks of bacterial plasmids
Prof.  Natalie Balaban, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel: Mechanism of evolution of antibiotic resistance
Prof Rosalind Allen, University of Edinburgh: The physics of microbial interactions

Tuesday, April 4th:
Dr. Dora Tang, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden: ‘Artificial’ cell synthesis
Prof Doug Densmore, Boston University: Design and assembly of biological systems
Dr R. Berry, University of Oxford: Engineering an artificial bacterial flagellar motor using DNA scaffold nanotechnology
Afternoon session: Engineering of new-generation microalgal cell factories
Prof Olaf Kruse (University of Bielefeld): Metabolic engineering of microalgae as green cell factories
Prof Poul Erik Jensen (University of Copenhagen): Engineering of cyanobacteria for production of high-value products: optimization of electron transport and metabolome formation
3 x 15-min offered talks
Prof Alison Smith (University of Cambridge): Plug and play – developing tuneable gene expression in micro algae using synthetic biology approaches
3 x 15-min offered talks