Category: News

3 business interaction vouchers awarded

Congratuations to the awardees of three business interaction vouchers awarded in the most recent call:

Assessing the production of human cysteine knot hormones in plant cell cultures
Jose Gutierrez-Marcos, University of Warwick, working with Mologic

This project aims to implement a new methodology designed to streamline the rapid and cost effective production of human chorionic gonadotropin in plants for its use in oncology diagnostics. To this aim we will assess the impact of culture media in protein production, purification and quality, which at present are the major limiting factors of protein production in plant cell cultures.

A machine learning poly-omics classifier to improve protein production in CHO cells
Claudio Angione, Teesside University, in collaboration with the Centre for Process Innovation

Our objective is to combine novel machine learning techniques with poly-omic analysis, building a computational method that: (i) accurately identifies whether target cells have optimal conditions for producing the target protein; (ii) if not, predicts genetic modifications that will likely increase protein production.

Fermentation optimisation of biotherapeutic production by E. coli ‘TatExpress’ strains
Colin Robinson, University of Kent, partnering with UCB-Celltech
We have developed E. coli strains that export a range of biotherapeutics to the periplasm
via the Tat protein export pathway. This project will test and optimise growth under
fermentation conditions to determine their true abilities and capacities using high-throughput ‘ambr’ micro-bioreactor systems to systematically optimise fed-batch fermentation regimes.

Our next (and final) business interaction voucher call closes at midday on Friday 26th May.
Details of other BIVs that have been awarded can be found here.

A look back at 2016


Third annual meeting science meeting
Our 3rd annual science meeting, held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, was attended by over 160 BioProNET members. As well as speakers from the UK, there was a strong international theme to the event; over half the speakers were international, and our two keynote speakers — Bill Barton and Pete Tessier— were from the USA. More details here.

Outreach events
BioProNET, together with the University of Kent, took part in the Big Bang Near Me and Chemistry at Work events, both of which aimed to inspire students to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). At the events, students learned the difficulties in making antibody-based medicines by trying to make replica biologics out of modelling balloons. More details here.

Internationalisation meeting
The BioProNET internationalisation meeting had around 30 invited attendees from across Europe, and aimed to strengthen links within the international bioprocessing community.

ERA-Net Cofund Biotechnologies

An ERA-Net Cofund Biotechnologies (CoBioTech) call opened at the start of December 2016, entitled ‘Biotechnology for a sustainable bioeconomy’ and including the following topics:
• Synthetic biology
• Systems biology
• Bioinformatic tools
• Biotechnological approaches
Further details can also be found on the BBSRC website: and at


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

Joint NIBB meeting – overcoming cellular barriers


Over 75 BioProNET, BioCatNet and CBMNet members attended this joint NIBB (networks in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy) event, held on July 6th & 7th 2016 in Birmingham. After an introduction outlining the objectives of the event, attendees completed a ‘me profile’ describing who they were, their expertise, their dream project and what the next big development in their field of research could be. This was followed by a series of talks from academics and industry scientists in 3 sessions:

Protein trafficking in eukaryotic cells
Protein export from bacterial cell factories
Delivering therapeutic proteins and other compounds
Attendees then spent the rest of the day formulating potential project ideas and developing these new collaborations. This was then followed by a conference dinner where further networking took place, together with some football watching! The second day focused on ‘technology drivers’; after two talks attendees then moved into to groups to further develop project ideas. At the end of day two, 9 project ideas were generated and champions assigned to take these projects forward.