PhD defence

Process optimization of the baculovirus expression vector system for vaccine production

PhD candidate Jort JJ (Jort) Altenburg MSc
Promotor RH (Rene) Wijffels GP (Gorben) Pijlman
Co-promotor DE (Dirk) Martens
Organisation Wageningen University, Bio Process Engineering

Fri 3 November 2023 13:30 to 15:00

Venue Omnia, building number 105
Hoge Steeg 2
6708 PH Wageningen
+31 (0) 317 - 484500
Room Auditorium


The Baculovirus Expression Vector System (BEVS) is a widely used technology for rapidly producing vaccines and gene therapy vectors. With the BEVS, insect cells are infected with a baculovirus carrying the gene of interest, enabling efficient recombinant protein production. However, the BEVS co-produces baculovirus particles, complicating product separation and causing losses of valuable product. The BACFREE project's goal was to develop a baculovirus expression vector system that yields recombinant proteins without baculovirus contamination.

At bioprocess engineering (BPE), we conducted experiments in bioreactors to optimize yield and reduce baculovirus contamination. These bioreactors mimic large-scale conditions and aid in evaluating ideal protein production strategies. Collaboration with the Laboratory of Virology (VIR) focused on the development of novel strategies to prevent baculovirus particle formation and assess scalability. Innovative methods like online monitoring and screening microbioreactors were used to enhance our understanding of the process.