Skip to main content

Innovative Cell Storage for Biotechnology

Principal Supervisor: Professor Matthew I. Gibson, Joint Department of Chemistry/WMS

Non-academic partner: GE Healthcare/Asymptote

Project Title: Innovative Cell Storage for Biotechnology

University of registration: University of Warwick

Project outline:

All biotechnology, biomedical, agricultural, food and regenerative medicine and associated products rely on cold chains; distribution at low temperature to prevent degradation. For example, bone marrow (for treatment of blood diseases) is stored cryopreserved with a large volume DMSO and probiotics are freeze dried before addition to consumer products. The Market value of these products are significant with frozen food a >$230 Billion market and frozen prime bull sperm (for agriculture) retailing for >$3000/sample!!

In the biotechnological arena, frozen cells which retain full function post-thawing are essential for our understanding of disease, pathogens and protein function. However, the methods to protect the cells from the cold damage are based on a 60 year old process of adding ‘organic solvent’ antifreezes. The GibsonGroup at Warwick has developed first-in-class macromolecular cryoprotectants which reduce, or eliminate, the need for solvents in cryopreservation. (E.g Nat. Comms, 2014, 5, 3244, and Nat Comms 2017 accepted.) See The Gibson Group website for more information.

This exciting project will combine expertise in new macromolecular cryoprotectants (GibsonGroup at Warwick) with GE Healthcare’s innovative cryopreservation technologies to improve reproducibility in cell storage. During the course of this interdisciplinary project, major scientific questions regarding the effect of cold on biotechnology and medically relevant cells will be asked, as well as technology/people transfer between academic/industry.

This project will offer the student a chance to be involved with a cutting edge project using modern biomaterials science (controlled radical polymerization) and applying this to major biotechnological problems. The supervisors group is joint between the medical school and chemistry provided dedicated facilities for all aspects of this including labs dedicated to synthetic chemistry, biophysical analysis, cell culture and a new microbiology lab (2017).

Closing date for applications: 7th January 2018

Interview dates: Thursday 18th January 2018

Check eligibilty and apply