Bioscience and Biotechnology Engineering

Bioscience and Biotechnology Engineering

Focus of our research

Our world is built on biology and once we begin to understand it, it then becomes a technology.

Dr Ryan Bethencourt, CEO of Wild Earth

Our research in the area of Bioscience and Biotechnology Engineering focuses on the exploitation of biological processes for multiple aspects of societal impact, ranging from well-being and medicine to bioremediation and environmental safety.

Our researchers are using living organisms, and their derivatives, to create novel products and processes for fundamental and applied research. Microbiology, genetic engineering, tissue, and cell cultures are all used to develop domestic and industrial applications through innovation that drives radical change in the capabilities of a user or culture.

The theme comprises three groups: the Bioremediation Research Group (led by Professor Sebastien Farnaud), the Formulation and Delivery Group (led by Professor Derek Renshaw) and the Biomanufacturing Research Group (led by Dr Phil Gould). 

Enabling technologies are characterised by rapid development of subsequent derivative technologies, often in diverse fields. As part of the 'Bioremediation Research Group’s' bio-innovative activities, we are developing methods in Bioleaching technology for the recycling of precious metals, particularly from e-waste. This research is looking at applications to tackle environmental issues and support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Agenda.

Our 'Formulation and Delivery Group' is developing micro- and nano- encapsulation systems that provide stability, integrity and targeting for functional molecules in the area of human nutrition and drug delivery.

The 'Biomanufacturing Research Group' translates fundamental research outputs into functional solutions that are being utilised in industry to prevent infection and disease.

If you wish to find out more about our research in the area of Bioscience and Biotechnology Engineering, please contact Professor Sebastien Farnaud

Our vision:

A world where technology helps biology to create a better society.

  • To be a catalyst to the advance of biotechnology research, education and industry for the benefit of society and the environment;
  • To develop life-changing technologies to improve the quality of life;
  • To develop and provide excellent research tools and capabilities through our resource facilities;
  • To catalyse the establishment of cross-disciplinary research programs with Universities and industry to solve problems;
  • To become a resource for biotechnology information and education for public awareness and understanding of biotechnology and its impacts;
  • To facilitate the knowledge exchange between researchers and companies to stimulate economic development;
  • To provide expertise for the formulation and evaluation of public policy.

Research groups

Within the Bioscience and Biotechnology Engineering theme we have three main research groups:

Bioremediation Group

Bioremediation is the branch of biotechnology that uses living organisms, mainly microorganisms such as bacteria, for the removal and utilisation of contaminants, pollutants, and toxins from soil, water, and other environments.

Bioremediation lies at the core of circular economy. It maximises the sustainable use and value of resources, eliminating - but also using - waste to benefit both the environment and the economy.

Bioremediation draws its inspiration from the biological cycle, offering an alternative to the predominant current approach whereby resources are used for one purpose, and then discarded.

One of the aim of the Bioremediation group is electronic waste (e-waste). Recently, electronic waste has been considered as the major secondary source of critical metals. As such, the recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) should prevent the exhaustion of natural resources, while considering the reduction of the leakage of toxic materials into the environment.

Our application of Bioleaching to WEEE recycling offers a reduction of environmental and human health impacts, increases the use of reusable and refurbished equipment, and reduces energy use while conserving limited resources. In commitment to supporting the UK in moving towards a more circular economy, the group is working with the
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs' (DEFRA) e-Sustainability Alliance, which seeks to promote, collect, share and implement best practice aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and DEFRA's 25 Year Environment Plan.

 


Formulation and Delivery Group

An active molecule is only efficient if it reaches its target.

As macromolecular composition provides the structural complexity and specificity, biopharmaceutical drugs, including antibodies, peptides and recombinant proteins face the challenges of permeation and degradation for efficient targeted delivery.

Our group is applying and developing innovations in formulation and delivery strategies that have facilitated delivery of active compounds. These advances include the use of nano-and micro-particles encapsulation with the combination of liposomes and chitosan-coated structures for increase permeability and stability, but also the addition of specific tags for active targeted delivery.


Biomanufacturing Group

The development of novel approaches to produce and manufacture vaccines or therapeutic treatments is vital to combat the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Our Biomanufacturing group develops antimicrobial and antiviral compositions into materials that can be used for a wide variety of applications and devises. This provides a close association with industrial partners across all these projects.

One particular area we focus on is the presence of biological contaminant generated in viral vaccine manufacturing. We have identified such contaminant as having a dramatic effect on vaccine production, leading to reduced overall yields. We have developed targeted approaches that able us to manage and control the appearance of contaminant, therefore leading to increases in yield and purity of the final product. The inhibitory properties of this same biological approach can also be harnessed as a therapeutic when targeted correctly.

As part of our research in this area, Dr Phillip Gould and his team at spin-out company OVO Biomanufacturing have secured £100,000 of funding to develop digital solutions to improve the manufacturing efficiency for viral vaccines and gene therapies.

Using a combination of bioinformatical and laboratory experimental studies, we bring together a pipeline to fully characterise and exploit our findings.

Key researchers

Name Title Email
Professor Sebastien Farnaud Professor of Bio-innovation and Enterprise Sebastien.Farnaud@coventry.ac.uk
Professor Derek Renshaw Professor of Endocrinology Derek.Renshaw2@coventry.ac.uk 
Professor David Barrie Johnson Professor of Environmental Biotechnology David.Johnson@coventry.ac.uk 
Dr Phillip Gould Research Associate Phil.Gould@coventry.ac.uk 
Dr Eva Pakostova Assistant Professor Eva.Pakostova@coventry.ac.uk 
Dr James Dayus ASPiRE Fellow James.Dayus@coventry.ac.uk 
Dr Mahsa Baniasadi Project Development Scientist, KTP Associate, Network 2 Supplies LTD Mahsa.Baniasadi@coventry.ac.uk 
Dr Emma Buick Project Development Scientist, KTP Associate, Life Science Group LTD Emma.Buick@coventry.ac.uk 
Roman Haraburda Senior Technician Roman.Haraburda@coventry.ac.uk 

Project spotlight

We use living organisms, and their derivatives, to create novel products and processes for fundamental and applied research. 

Find out more about some of our research projects:

Fe iron micronutrient

Micronutrient Delivery Platform

Development and commercialisation of a Micronutrient Delivery Platform for targeted iron absorption

Electronic waste

Bioleaching technology for the recovery of metals from Electronic Waste

Developing a microbiological approach to safely extract and recycle toxic metals from electronic waste.

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