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what is bioprocessing

Bioprocessing (also known as biological manufacturing) is a branch of the science industry where living organisms eg. bacteria, enzymes and cells are used to create useful products. To create products through bioprocessing, scientists create conditions for biological processes to take place on a large scale. For example, useful chemicals created in the human body on a small scale, like antibodies, can be produced on a mass scale and used to treat poorly patients.

Bioprocessing plays a key role in the development of stem cell therapies, vaccine production and much more, but doesn't only have medicinal benefits. Scientists can harness biological processes to help develop renewable energy sources and much more! So, if you're keen to work in a life-changing career, bioprocessing could be a great industry for you to explore.

How does bioprocessing work?

To create any kind of product using bioprocessing, scientists have to follow a particular workflow. Of course, there is some variation to the workflow depending on the desired product, but generally, bioprocessing follows these steps:

1. Sample collection - Before bioprocessing can begin, scientists need to gather the living organisms that produce the desired product, whether that's living cells, enzymes, bacteria or something else. The sample is then stored in a 'seed bank', where it will be kept alive until it's required for stage 2.

2. Cultivation of the sample - It's unlikely that scientists will have a large enough sample of the living organism to create the volume of desired product that they need. In order to scale up the initial sample, the living organisms are cultivated.

3. Culturing the cells - This is where things get interesting. The sample organisms are put into ideal conditions for them to start producing the desired molecules or product. It's vital that bioprocessing scientists monitor the cells carefully and do whatever they can to maximise the yield. After all, bioprocessing can be an expensive and lengthy process.

4. Harvesting - Once the biological process has taken place, scientists need to carefully separate the original sample cells from the desired product. This process is called 'harvesting'. Occasionally, the desired product will be produced inside the sample cells, at which point scientists refer to the separation process as 'recovery'. 

5. Purification - To make sure that the product is clean and safe for use, scientists will take time to remove impurities, salts, solvents and will even check for viruses. This is vital, especially if the final product will be used to treat sick patients. There's always a chance of contamination when you're working with living cells, so this is a vital step!

6. Testing - Before being packaged and sent to the general public, scientists need to check that the harvested product does what it's supposed to do. Bioprocessing specialists will test the molecules and decide what the safest and most effective way to administer them is. This could include suspending the desired product in an aerosol, powder or liquid suspension. 

7 - Packaging - Once the scientists are happy with the final product, it's packaged and labelled up ready to be transported to its final destination, whether that be a hospital, 

Bioprocessing Jobs

If bioprocessing sounds like an industry you'd be interested in working in, the HRS recruitment team can help you find your ideal job! We have a whole host of bioprocessing roles on offer that you can take a look at.

Browse All Bioprocessing Jobs >

Upstream Bioprocess Engineer

Key Duties:

- Leading, planning and executing experiments for the scale-up and development of GMP manufacturing of Cell and Gene Therapies.

- Working with mammalian cell culture (e.g HEK cells, IPSCs, stem cells) and lab-scale bioreactors.

- Use design and experiment (DoE) and method validation to improve experimental plans.

- Designing closed and automated processes with bioreactors for the application to Cell and Gene therapies.

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Antibody Purification Scientist

Key Duties:

- Purification of antibodies using techniques such as Chromatography AKTA systems and Protein A or Protein G purification on a lab scale.

- Performing binding analysis with assays such as ELISAs or Octet.

- Performing quality control chromatographic techniques such as ion exchange, size inclusion, hydrophobic interaction, reverse phase.

- Supporting with other biochemical techniques such as SDS-PAGE and Western Blot.

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If you'd like to speak to our expert recruiters about a job in bioprocessing, they are more than happy to help! We can work with you on a one-to-one basis to help find you a bioprocessing job that'll change your life! Take the first steps towards your bioprocessing career by getting in touch.

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