Bioreactor for CPB Laboratory Exercises

Project Title: Bioreactor for CPB Laboratory Exercises

Long Title (if desired): Bioreactor for Chemical, Paper, and Bioengineering Undergraduate Teaching Labs

Project Lead's Name: J. Andrew Jones

Project Lead's Email:

Project Lead's Phone: 513-528-0756

Project Lead's Division: CEC

Primary Department: Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering

Other Team Members and their emails: Jason Boock,

List Departments Benefiting or Affected by this proposal: Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering

Estimated Number of Under-Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 75

Estimated Number of Graduate students affected per year (should be number who will actually use solution, not just who is it available to): 5

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem: The purpose of this proposal is to obtain a new state of the art, self-contained bioreactor system to be used for both in-class laboratory exercises in the Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering curricula, but also for use in our capstone senior design course, independent study, and guided research projects for our students. One of the main goals of engineering education is to prepare students to be competitive candidates for a range of skilled jobs upon graduation. In addition to technical preparation received during lecture, exposure to hands-on learning through guided and open-ended experimentation with state of the art technology is a way for students to gain experience with equipment they may encounter once they enter the workforce and add tangible skills to their resumes.

Bioreactors are used to house, control, and facilitate the growth of living cells including bacteria, yeast, fungi, mammalian, insect, and plant cells, and are ubiquitous throughout the biotechnology industry. As such, adding this instrument to the Biochemical Engineering (CPB 416) course allows for an improvement in existing labs to monitor the growth kinetics of bacteria and exposes students to a scaled-up process. Additionally, bioreactors offer improvements over low-cost small-scale experiments by permitting the real-time monitoring and control of dissolved gases and pH with integrated feed, stirring, and gas mixing capabilities. These features will enable additional labs to be integrated in the courses of Biotransport Phenomena (CPB 418), Mass Transport (CPB 414), and Unit Operations (CPB 311 and CPB 451) centered on gas exchange with a living system. The ‘living system’ requirement is an important aspect of the ABET accreditation process in bioengineering programs and the incorporation of labs centered around the proposed bioreactor will strengthen the department’s efforts to comply with the ABET Curriculum requirement 1d: “The curriculum must prepare graduates with experience in making measurements on and interpreting data from living systems.”

The incorporation of a controllable and fully-modifiable bioreactor system such as the proposed Eppendorf BioFlo 120 will permit laboratories beyond simply characterizing oxygen transport and cell growth by enabling monitoring reaction progress in a continually stirred tank reactor (CPB 415). Students can expand upon gas exchange by characterizing the control features of the bioreactor as a laboratory for Process Control (CPB 473), using the integrated and adjustable PID cascade control of dissolved oxygen through agitation variation.

Currently Miami CPB graduates are underrepresented in the biotechnology career space. The acquisition of the proposed bioreactor will strengthen the Bioproduction and Bioprocessing education of our students (focus areas in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering), better preparing them for jobs in the biopharmaceutical industry. Hands-on experience with the bioreactor will increase familiarity with instrumentation and processes used in this career choice, resulting in increased student interest in and competiveness for jobs in these industries. In fact, a recent capstone senior design project in Bioproduction attracted sufficient student interest to be expanded to two teams with students showing high-interest in scale-up and fermentation control through use of a bioreactor. Lastly, the CPB department has demonstrated a commitment and desire to strengthen our curriculum in these areas through two recent hires with expertise in this area (Drs. Jason Boock and Andrew Jones).

In conclusion, the addition of this bioreactor to the Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering department will: 1. allow our students to get hands-on experience with new equipment that they may encounter in their future careers, 2. better satisfy the ABET ‘living system’ requirement for the bioengineering majors, 3. enhance learning opportunities for our majors in multiple required classes, and 4. expand the capabilities of the department’s equipment in the bioproduction and bioprocessing arena for application in senior design (CPB 471/472) and independent studies (CPB X77).

We understand the financial constraints a large request such as this can have on the Tech Fee Program. A smaller award of $19,000 would allow for the basic bioreactor model to be purchased. This will enable the primary goals of the project to be accomplished, and further upgrades to allow for additional functionality can be added on at a later time. However, due to discounts and bundling, it would be less expensive and easier to purchase all the controls in one system rather than upgrading at a later time.

How would you describe the innovation and/or the significance of your project: The addition of this bioreactor to the CPB labs is an innovative addition of hands-on technology. The incorporation of this technology throughout the CPB curriculum will allow students multiple opportunities to interact with the bioreactor throughout their career at Miami. Due to Miami’s relatively small class size as compared with other major engineering schools, the CPB curriculum permits guided small group interaction with equipment in the laboratory. This allows for not only observation of bioreactor use by the faculty member, but also the opportunity for students to perform experiments for classes and senior design projects using the equipment. Due to this innovative approach, Miami’s Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering students will be deeply and significantly impacted by the opportunity for hands-on interaction with industrial laboratory technology.

How will you assess the success of the project: The project will be considered a success if:

  1. In the first year, one required undergraduate course utilizes the bioreactor to enhance student learning through in-class labs (CPB 418: Biological Transport Phenomena -Transient O2/CO2 mass transfer lab is proposed).
  2. In years two and three, the bioreactor is utilized in multiple courses and/or senior design groups. We propose the utilization of the bioreactor for use in senior design groups supervised by Drs. Boock and Jones, focused on Biochemical production processes. Dependent on the timing of award, this could be accomplished in the first year.

The value of the bioreactor addition will be quantitatively accessed through the application of the pre-test/post-test method to measure the bioproduction, biological fermentation processes, and integrated fermenter controls knowledge of the students before and after working with the bioreactor. For laboratories utilizing the bioreactor, students will write up their findings, providing strong reinforcement of concepts learned in lecture by visualizing real phenomena and adding improved written communication to student outcomes. Additional qualitative assessment will be performed through group discussions between faculty and students on perceived learning outcomes from work with the bioreactor.

Total Amount Requested: $26,028.24

Is this a multi-year request: No

Please address how, if at all, this project impacts any of Miami's BCSAE, 2020, or divisional plans: This project has no perceived impacts on any of Miami's BCSAE, 2020, or divisional plans, outside of a general enhancement of undergraduate education of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering majors.