BPE-33803 Animal Cell Biotechnology


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. DE Martens
Lecturer(s)ing. EJ van den End
ing. WAC Evers
dr. ir. DE Martens
Examiner(s)dr. ir. DE Martens

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

BPE-22306 Basic Cell Factory Design


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual.
See Academic Year.(http://www.wur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/Current-Students/Agenda-Calendar-Academic-Year.htm) -> Registration for Courses.
There is an increasing demand for new biopharmaceuticals. Biopharmaceuticals are for example monoclonal antibodies, certain hormones, blood clotting factors and vaccines. They are used against diseases like cancer, rheuma, polio, flu etc.. A major part of these biopharmaceuticals are complex compounds and proteins that cannot be made in classical production systems like E-coli, yeast and fungi, but can only be produced by mammalian cells and sometimes by insect cells. Insect cells are also used to produce baculoviruses to be used as bio-insecticide. In addition, animal cells are used for the in-vitro engineering of tissues like liver, skin, bone and cartilage.
Animal cells originate from a multicellular organism. As a consequence they require complex media and due to lack of a cell wall are sensitive to shear. This has major consequences for media development and the design and scale-up of bioreactors. This course aims to give insight into the consequences of the specific biological features of animal cells on the design and scale-up of production processes for animal cells.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain why animal cells are required for the production of certain biopharmaceuticals;
- relate the main differences between cultivation of animal cells and micro-organisms like yeast and bacteria to their physiology;
- cultivate Chinese Hamster Ovary  cells in t-flasks, shake-flasks and a lab-scale bioreactor;
- design a bioreactor for animal cell cultivation based on shear forces and oxygen transfer;
- evaluate the relevance of different bioreactor and process types for animal cell culture;
- describe important aspects of cell physiology (metabolism, cell proliferation and death) and relate these to process design;
- understand and design a virus production process considering the relation between multiplicity of infection and time of infection and virus stability.


- 5 lectures;
- practical work Students work in a group of 3 to 4 persons on two assignments;
- cultivation of Chinese Hamster Ovary cells in a lab-scale bioreactor;
- design a large-scale production process for an influenza subunit vaccine using the baculovirus expression system.


Individual grade for the final closed book exam (75% of final grade) and a group grade for the practical (25% of final grade). Both grades have to be above 5.5. Grades are valid for a period of 5 years.


Distributed at the start of the course.

Restricted Optional for: MBTBiotechnologyMScA: Spec. A - Cellular/Molecular Biotechnology6MO
MBTBiotechnologyMScD: Spec. D - Process Technology6MO
MBTBiotechnologyMScC: Spec. C - Medical Biotechnology6MO