Bioprocessing PhD/MPhil: University of Briminghum

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Bioprocessing PhD/MPhil: University of Briminghum, Chemical Engineering, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Course Beginning 
No fixed date
PhD – 3 years full-time, MPhil – 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Scholarship and Grants

+44 (0) 121 414 5354
+44 (0) 121 414 5377


Bioprocessing is concerned with development of new methods for production of bioactive molecules and their delivery to the human body, and incorporates research groups in biochemical engineering, cell and tissue engineering, biological products recovery, waste processing and environmental bioremediation. Taken together, this is one of the largest biochemical engineering activities in the UK, and is housed in a purpose-built Biochemical Engineering building.

Their research strengths are animal cell culture, bioselective separations and formulation of bioactive dosage forms, micromanipulation of single cells, flow cytometry and microbial physiology. These strengths are harnessed to solve post-genomic and proteomic issues of manufacture, measurement and modification of new products characterised by extreme molecular complexity and purity specifications. These products are commonly macromolecular proteins, and are likely to be nanoparticulate in nature, including virus, virus-like and nucleic acid formulations.

Initial enquiries about the research opportunities available in bioprocessing should be made to Dr Neil Rowson, who will put you in touch with the appropriate member of staff.

Nanoparticulate, cell and tissue engineering is concerned with identification of strategies for the manufacture of nanoparticulate bioproducts, including viral gene therapy vectors, plasmids and supramolecular assemblies, and production of efficient and reproducible processes for gene therapy products.

Current work includes:

  • Development of novel bioseparation routes
  • Intensification of enzyme production by direct product separation from batch fermentations
  • Development of animal cell culture processes for large-scale production of pharmaceuticals, particularly intensive systems with cell and product retention
  • Control of cell proliferation and cell death (apoptosis)
  • Development of flow cytometric methods for selection of high producers; monitoring performance and productivity of industrial-scale processes
  • Tissue engineering of bone and cartilage tissue, and development of bio-artificial liver systems
  • Improvement of packaging cell lines and production systems of viral vectors for gene therapy
  • Brewing and environmental processing
  • Scale-up and -down of bioprocesses using flow cytometry as a physiological probe

Image analysis and micromechanical techniques for characterising the behaviour of single cells have been pioneered here and are applied to key bioprocess engineering problems, such as:

  • Determination of the effect of biomass and mycelial morphology on fermentation broth rheology
  • Damage to mycelia in penicillin fermentation and development of structured models for control of penicillin fermentations
  • Mechanical properties of cell walls in bioproducts
  • Shear effects in aggregate formation and break-up, using both model and bacterial aggregates
  • Cell-surface adhesion, biofouling and surface cleaning
  • Determination of the mechanical properties of a wide range of microparticles, such as skin cells for human skin care applications,and vitamin granules and microspheres for food and pharmaceutical applications
  • Probiotic formulations for preservation and targeted delivery
  • Micro-encapsulation for pressure-sensitive materials, artificial organs, cell engineering and drug delivery
  • Nanomanipulation under the Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM)

Waste processing and bioremediation is concerned with the development of clean-up technologies at the theoretical and practical level. Many projects are collaborative with the School of Biosciences (on wastewater treatment and metals recovery) and the Centre for Environmental Research and Training (CERT).

Topics include:

  • A patented process for precious metal recovery from catalysts
  • Adsorption of reactive dyes for wastewater treatment
  • Wastewater treatment by supercritical water oxidation
  • Bioremediation of food and agricultural wastes
  • Bioreactors for dairy water treatment
  • Control of thermophilic aerobic waste treatments
  • Oxidation and photocatalytic techniques for aqueous media

Research Facilities

English language requirements

Entry requirements

The normal entrance qualification for PhD study is either at least an upper second-class Honours degree, or a first degree of a lower classification, along with an MSc or evidence of substantial relevant industrial experience

For more information about Entry requirements visit

How to apply

Online applications

If you submit an online application, please write your ID number on your supporting documents when you send them to us. You will receive an ID number by email on the day after you submit your application (apart from applications submitted on Friday, Saturday or Sunday when the email will arrive on Monday).

If you send in your supporting documents before completing the online application form, please make sure that you write your full name, date of birth and the programme you are applying for on all the documents.

Paper application form

If you apply using the paper application form, please include, where possible, your supporting documents with the application.

Where to send supporting documents

  • Address: Admissions
    Aston Webb Building
    University of Birmingham
    B15 2TT

Tuition fees and costs

The University charges an annual tuition fee. This covers the cost of your tuition, examination and graduation, and includes membership of the Guild of Students. Fees are payable at the start of your programme.

When you accept the offer of a place, you are also accepting responsibility for the payment of your tuition fees, even if you are sponsored or in receipt of an award and the sponsor fails to pay. It is therefore very important that you have sufficient funds available to you. Unfortunately, if you fail to pay the fees, you will not be permitted to continue your studies.

For more information about tuition fees visit

For general information about open days

  • 3 December

Their Postgraduate Open Day is the ideal opportunity to visit the University and find out more about the research areas or programmes that interest you.

For more information about other tours and visits:

Contact details

Main University Switchboard

  • Postal Address: University of Birmingham
    B15 2TT
  • Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3344
  • Fax: +44(0)121 414 3971

Postgraduate Admissions

International Applicant Enquiries

Financial Support Office

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