Chemical Engineering Professor Addresses European Symposium

Associate Professor William Kelly, PhD, Chemical Engineering, works with an undergraduate in his Bioprocessing Laboratory.
Associate Professor William Kelly, PhD, Chemical Engineering, works with an undergraduate in his Bioprocessing Laboratory.

Dr. William J. Kelly, associate professor of Chemical Engineering, recently traveled to Lille, France where he was an invited keynote presenter for the 10th symposium of the European Society for Biochemical Engineering Science (ESBES). In addition to his talk, titled "Considering the Cells in the Modeling and Optimization of Recovery Operations for Biological Products," Dr. Kelly served as technical chair for the meeting’s session on Bioprocess Integration and Intensification. He also is an invited member of the ESBES’s scientific committee.

Dr. Kelly’s presentation included findings from his recent research into alternating tangential flow filtration for perfusion cell culture. Perfusion, or continual replenishing of nutrients while removing waste products in a bioreactor, is the most efficient mode of production for animal cell culture products. Alternating Tangential Flow (ATF) filters have been employed with success in the biopharmaceutical industry as a lower shear technology for mammalian cell retention with perfusion cultures. The longer growth cycles and the higher cell densities achievable using ATF systems for perfusion cell culture, however, can result in membrane fouling. 

With a grant from Janssen Biopharmaceuticals, Dr. Kelly has been assessing the impact of key operating parameters (i.e. permeate flowrate, cell and antifoam concentrations and cell viability) on fouling rates of a specific type of ATF cartridge being used to filter suspended mammalian cells. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a mathematical model that can be used to predict when an ATF cartridge will foul during a perfusion cell culture run with these same cells. More generally, Dr. Kelly seeks to provide a framework for modeling similar ATF systems for the purpose of minimizing the number of filter exchanges per perfusion run.

Dr. Kelly’s research is the subject of "Understanding and Modeling Alternating Tangential Flow Filtration for Perfusion Cell Culture," a paper which has been accepted in the prestigious Biotechnology Progress journal. Chemical engineering graduate student Jennifer Scully has worked with Dr. Kelly on this project, and is the paper’s co-author.