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Creating coursework for cell manufacturing

Alan Flurry

Research teams at UGA and the University of Pennsylvania, along with four private firms, are taking part in an 18-month federally sponsored project led by the Georgia Institute of Technology that will develop a much-needed curriculum to train workers for the fledgling cell manufacturing industry:

The curriculum development project is part of the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, or NIIMBL, which the U.S. Department of Commerce is supporting with a five-year, $70 million grant.

The goal of the training project is to develop course modules that can be used for certificate or graduate degree programs in biomanufacturing. The modules will be designed to give students in traditional classrooms and through distance learning courses instruction on cell processing and culturing as well as quality control and aspects of supply chain logistics. The modules will also train students in best manufacturing practices and regulatory compliance as well as cultural sensitivity and policy awareness.

The research team at Georgia Tech will focus on developing training that involves cell characterization and bioprocessing, logistics and supply chain management and other process-oriented aspects of manufacturing. Researchers at UGA will, among other things, focus on biopharmaceuticals process development, risk management and regulatory aspects, while the team at UPenn will develop training related to the delivery of cells and therapies as well as regulatory and entrepreneurial aspects of the industry.

“The upstream and downstream processing modules will have hands-on training components which will benefit our students who rarely see biomanufacturing operations in a traditional university lab setting,” said David Blum, a co-principal investigator of this project and an associate research scientist and director of the Bioexpression and Fermentation Facility at UGA. Blum will work with colleagues in UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine Educational Resources group and its Institute for International Biomedical Regulatory Sciences. “We are also excited about the use of virtual reality technology as part of our upstream process module, which will enhance the learning experience and result in more engaging content for students.”

Great work by faculty and staff in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology and the Bioexpression and Fermentation Facility. Connecting our research capacity to student training represents a key component in unlocking industry experiences and opportunities on campus and beyond.

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