NIBRT Bioprocessing Industry Training Day

On Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 Collins McNicholas sent a number of our Recruitment consultants to the National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) for a one-day introductory course on the Bioprocessing Industry. NIBRT is a world-class institute that provides training and research solutions for the bioprocessing industry. It supports the industry by providing trainees with an opportunity to train in an environment that closely matches what they would find in modern biopharmaceutical facilities.

The course started with a lecture giving an introduction to the Bioprocessing Industry. We covered the differences between Pharmaceuticals and Biopharmaceuticals and were introduced to the major steps involved in the production of Biopharmaceuticals including Upstream and Downstream Processing. The lecture really brought home the importance of modified cells in protein production. We then had to put on our Personal Protective Equipment before we were taken on a tour of the Facility. The tour really helped in grasping the production process from start to finish.

Next, we had two lectures that explained upstream and downstream processing in more detail. Upstream operations involve cell culture, cell counting, cell banking and then culture growth and up-scaling to the production bioreactor. Downstream operations involve Harvesting, Centrifugation, Microfiltration, Ultrafiltration and Chromatography respectively.  We were shown some of the equipment needed in a biologics facility. The process of cell culture, cell counting and cell banking were explained. We were also shown the range of different cell culture growth equipment and the range of different designs for bioreactors.

Following the lectures, we got some hands-on experience with two laboratory practicals. The first was a cell culture practical. We used a Laminar Flow Unit and strict aseptic techniques to ensure a sterile working environment. We used Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells and working in a Laminar Flow Unit we prepared the cells for subsequent counting. We performed a manual cell counting procedure and then a cell count using a cell viability analyser to get an accurate measurement of cell numbers.  This practical session really brought home the importance of proper aseptic techniques to prevent contamination.

This was followed by a Column Packing Practical for Column Chromatography, a key operation in downstream processing. This is the process by which the desired product is separated from a wide variety of process contaminants. In the practical, we manually packed resin in the column and tested the efficiency of the resultant packed resin.  The practical showed us the difficulties/advantages of a manual column pack. It also showed us what could go wrong within a purification step when a column is not properly packed.

NIBRT is a very impressive facility and the staff and trainers are great at getting everyone involved and explaining production processes clearly. The day gave us a great appreciation for the work that goes on in a Bioprocessing facility and a better understanding of the industry in general. This industry has a constant demand for skilled individuals and offers a wide variety of career opportunities from roles such as Process/Project Engineers, Quality Engineers, Validation Engineers, Production Operatives, Supervisors and many more.

For more information on jobs in this area visit