Bioprocess Engineering


In the end of this curricular unit the student will have acquired knowledge, skills and competencies that will enable:

-       Understanding the different phases in bioprocess development and the particular challenges therein.

-       Understanding the basic principles of metabolic engineering for the improvement of microbial strains/cellular lines.

-       To be able to design genetic modifications to increase productivity/yield

-       To be able to design, develop or optimize high cell density bioreactors

-       To be able to scale-up or scale-down a bioreactor based on kinetic and transport data from the original scale

-       To understand the specificities of animal cell bioprocesses for the production of biotherapeutics and for cell therapies in the health sector.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Ascenção Carvalho Fernandes Miranda Reis, Rui Manuel Freitas Oliveira


Weekly - 4

Total - 94

Teaching language





Bailey, J.E. and Ollis, D.F. (1986). Biochemical Engineering Fundamentals. McGraw-Hill, New York, USA.

Doran, P.M. (1995) Bioprocess Engineering Principles, Academic press, London

Gregory N. Stephanopoulos, Aristos A. Aristidou, Jens Nielsen (1998) Metabolic Engineering: Principles and Methodologies. Academic Press, London 

Sadettin S. Ozturk, Wei-Shou Hu (Ed.) (2006) Cell Culture Technology for Pharmaceutical and Cell Based Therapies, Taylor & Francis, New York


Teaching method

Lectures cover all the content according with to the syllabus. Problem solving classes aiming at settling knowledge acquired at the theoretical classes. Use of MATALAB for solving problems and specific computational modelling problems. Development of a literature research project under the topic of Animal Cell Technology.

The evaluation includes three components:

-       3 Individual midterm examinations  or 1 final written examination.

-       Modeling project with MATLAB Literature research project on Animal Cell Technology including oral presentation

-       Literature research project on Animal Cell Technology including oral presentation

Evaluation method

1) Continuous assessment

A - Laboratory experiment in the topic of immobilized cells (report)

B – Computational work in the topic of metabolic engineering (report)

C – Theoretical assessment (3 tests)

Test-M1 (40%) + Test-M2 (40%) +Test-M3 (20%)
(Minimum grade in component C = 9,5)

Final grade = 0,15 A  + 0,15 B + 0,70 C
(Minimum grade to pass the curricular unit = 9,5)


2) Rebuttal exame

D – Single theory exame over all topics M1/M2/M3
(Minimum grade in component C = 9,5)

Final grade = 0,15 A  + 0,15 B + 0,70 D
(Minimum grade to pass the curricualr unit = 9,5)


Subject matter

Module I – Bioreaction engineering (6 weeks)

1. Overview of bioreaction engineering principles
2. Bioprocessing technologies
3. Bioreaction with immobilized cells
4. Structured/segregated bioreaction engineering
5. Bioprocess scale-up/-down 

Module II - Animal cells technology (4 weeks)

1. Introduction to methods of animal cell culture
1.1. Types of cultures (Primary, hybridomas, cell lines – BHK, CHO, PerC6, insect cells)
1.2. Methods and culture parameters (culture media, culture systems bioreactors and analytics)
2. Animal cells as a product, tool for production and tool for research and development of biotherapeutics
2.1. Production of recombinant proteins, vaccines and vectors for genic therapy.           
2.2. Cellular therapy (stem cells)
2.3. In vitro models for screening and development of novel biotherapeutics  

Module III – Metabolic engineering (4 weeks)

1. Introduction to cell factories
2. Metabolism, metabolic networks, genome-scale networks
3. Metabolic models
4. Metabolic flux analysis
5. Metabolic control analysis
6. Flux balance analysis
7. Applications: Genetic Engineering & Culture medium engineering


Programs where the course is taught: