A Lab-Scale Fermentation Course with an Emphasis on Recombinant Protein Production
Fermentation is responsible for the production of myriad products across a variety of industrial sectors. In particular, the biomanufacturing industry requires a labor force proficient in fermentation and its associated technologies to drive the production of recombinant protein therapeutics. This paper describes the development of a course that introduces students to fermentation technologies for protein production at the laboratory scale. The course aims to familiarize students with the theory underlying the operation of bioreactors, the growth of microorganisms, and the expression and characterization of recombinant proteins. The eight-week course consists of a weekly lecture covering topics including properties of proteins, expression systems, microbial growth, gas-liquid mass transfer, sterilization, and process controls. In addition to lectures, students participate in weekly lab sessions involving the evaluation of growth kinetics, protein production, expression system optimization, and oxygenation and substrate feeding strategies. Student learning is assessed through bi-weekly quizzes and team lab reports, as well as a final group presentation on a technology relevant to the production of recombinant therapeutic proteins. Analysis of student responses on pre- and post-course surveys informed efficacy of course delivery. Overall, student responses on pre- and post-course surveys indicate achievement of learning objectives.