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Increasing Antibody Production in Mammalian cells
Supervisor team: Professor Neil Bulleid (University of Glasgow) and Dr Katharine Cain (UCB Pharma)
Application closing date: June 29th, 2012.
A 4-year BBSRC studentship funded through the Bioprocessing Research Industry Club is available from September 2012 to work on a joint project between Glasgow University and UCB Pharma. The successful student will be based in Glasgow but will spend a minimum of 6 months working at UCB Pharma in Slough. The project aims to characterise mammalian cells that have been engineered to improve their capacity to synthesise and secrete functional antibody molecules.
The use of monoclonal antibodies as therapeutic agents is now well established providing drugs for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. These antibodies are relatively unstable and complex molecules to synthesise. The method of choice to produce these proteins is by expression in mammalian cells. The success of this production relies upon our continued ability to improve the ability of these cells to synthesise and secrete biologically active antibody molecules. Over the past few years, great advances have been made improving transcription and translation efficiencies allowing very high levels of gene expression, so much so that expression per se is not seen as a limiting factor in protein production. Rather the emphasis has shifted to the cell's capacity to fold and secrete the synthesised polypeptide. Antibodies are folded and assembled in the endoplasmic reticulum where glycosylation, disulphide formation and assembly of the antibody molecules take place. Only correctly folded and assembled molecules are secreted.
The project will aim to characterise cell lines that have been engineered to improve production. To improve protein production it is essential for us to understand the molecular detail underlying enhanced production. The information generated will be of wide interest to bioprocessing companies active in the area of recombinant protein expression in mammalian cells.
The student employed to this position will obtain valuable experience of working in both an academic and industrial setting. The training provided will enable the student to obtain the skills necessary for a career in the bioprocessing sector. While the project is focused on antibody production the skills learned will be applicable to the production of any recombinant protein in mammalian cells.
The candidate must have been resident in the UK throughout the 3-year period preceding the date of application for an award, not wholly or mainly for the purposes of full time education. Applicants should have received a grade of at least 2:1 or equivalent in a degree in Biological Sciences such as Biochemistry or Molecular Biology. Applicants who do not meet this threshold but have completed other postgraduate training programmes might be considered.
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