To capitalise upon its strengths in bioprocessing, the Industrial Biotechnology Centre (IBC) at the University of Kent will provide both research and training in the molecular processing area. The research, training and development will be linked with translational research and industrial application in order to further develop and build collaborative training, research and IP portfolios with local, national and international academic and industrial partners. The Centre will specifically foster the integration and linking of appropriate expertise and know-how across the Faculty of Sciences at the interface between biology, chemistry, mathematical science, computer science, pharmacy, electronics and engineering sciences in the Molecular Processing area. The Industrial Biotechnology Centre therefore creates an interdisciplinary team delivering research and training in Molecular Processing with the remit to link research with its industrial application. Ultimately this will enhance our understanding of the cellular and molecular processes which limit phenotype relevant to Molecular Processing in order to predict, model and manipulate these processes to improve the desired outcome.
The University of Kent is committed to the development and success of the Centre, providing a physical location for the Centre and funding for the recruitment of new appointments in key strategic areas over the next five years. These appointments and the current faculty staff who are part of the Centre will not only focus upon research at Kent, but build and foster collaborative training, research and IP portfolios with academic and industrial partners. This includes collaborative training and research at the postgraduate, postdoctoral and fellowship level, but also short training visits for academic and industrial colleagues who wish to work with academics in the Centre across all the disciplines and Schools underpinning the Centre.
Molecular Processing research and training at Kent is initially focussed upon our strengths, investigating the mechanisms and cellular requirements that influence disease states and the synthesis of therapeutic agents and biomedicines from biological systems (e.g. bacterial, yeast, mammalian systems).
The initial scientific objectives and themes of the Centre are:
- Investigate and determine the cellular constraints that limit the production of biotherapeutic medicines from prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems and, to develop experimentally supported models based upon these data that allow prediction of cellular behaviour.
- Determine how cells respond to protein aggregation and to identify cell engineering strategies that may be used to evade the problems protein misfolding presents both to the organism/expression system and downstream processing.
- Enhance our understanding of how biochemical pathways operate in a synthetic biology context, how they are controlled, and how they can be engineered to enhance the metabolic ability of the host cell.