Dr. Jens Karlsson Participates in International Cell Banking Conference

Dr. Jens Karlsson, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Jens Karlsson, an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, was an invited speaker at the 3rd International Cell Banking Conference, sponsored by the Williamsburg BioProcessing Foundation, in December 2008 in Santa Barbara, California.

An established investigator in the field of cryobiology, Dr. Karlsson presented a talk titled “Optimization of Cryopreservation Process Parameters” to representatives from the biotechnology industry. He provided an overview of the biophysical responses of cells subjected to cryogenic temperatures for the purpose of cryopreservation. In particular, he described how process parameters such as freezing rates and cryoprotectant chemicals affect cell survival. He also demonstrated the benefits of sophisticated computer models used to design optimal cryopreservation procedures.

Preservation is critical for quality control of biopharmaceuticals. The FDA requires that engineered cells used to manufacture such drugs be derived from a fully characterized cell bank, which must be cryopreserved to ensure stability. The problem is how to freeze these banks without destroying them in the process. Mechanisms of injury include, on the one hand, cell dehydration and, on the other, intracellular ice formation. Dr. Karlsson’s work enables prediction of optimal cooling profiles that minimize such injury. “The more we understand about the mechanisms of cell damage during the freezing process, the more we can do to ensure a high yield of viable, functional cells,” Dr. Karlsson said.

Dr. Karlsson joined Villanova’s College of Engineering in 2008. He has previously held faculty positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Illinois at Chicago. He earned his SB, SM, and PhD degrees at MIT, where he worked with some of the pioneering engineers in the field of cryobiology. At Villanova, Dr. Karlsson will contribute to the new bioengineering minor, the first minor to be offered jointly by the colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Nursing.