Founded in 1996 by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jochen Büchs, the Chair of Biochemical Engineering (AVT.BioVT) has since established a distinctive profile in the development of new methods and techniques for innovative biotechnological production processes. In April 2023, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jørgen Magnus took over the leadership of the chair. The AVT.BioVT cooperates nationally and internationally with other universities and research institutions as well as with renowned companies.
The main research areas of the AVT.BioVT are the development of Online Measurement Technology, the Bioprocess Development in all (bioreactor) scales, Fermentation Technology and Animal Cell Culture.
We continuously offer theses on the mentioned topics. You can find student and final theses here (access only from the RWTH network). In addition, you are welcome to send us a spontaneous application via our secretary (Secretary.BioVT@avt.rwth-aachen.de).
Until recently, the use of shaken bioreactors was mostly empirical. The research activities of the AVT.BioVT have contributed significantly to a more rational understanding of cultivations in shake flasks and microtiter plates. This enables better transferability of results from shaken small-scale cultures to larger production-scale. Prerequisite for this is a close process monitoring in all scales. The commercially available RAMOS, COSBIOS and BioLector techniques for online process monitoring, developed at the AVT.BioVT, make an essential contribution to process understanding in small scale. Even fed-batch processes in small-scale applications are possible (e.g. by FeedBeads, FeedPlates). Another commercial example are the Flowerplates, which, as a screening platform, allow oxygen transfer rates almost as in an intensively stirred fermenter.
In the field of stirred tank fermentation, the development of new process strategies is another focus. In addition to numerous laboratory fermenters, the AVT.BioVT also has several steel fermenters with a working volume of 7.5 L - 150 L, which can be operated up to an overpressure of 10 bar. An ATEX-certified 7.5L fermenter cascade is suitable for fermentation with gaseous carbon sources such as CO, H2 and CH4. As part of the Competence Center NGP² Biorefinery, the AVT.BioVT operates a 150L pressure fermenter, designed for in-situ permeate separation. All fermenters are equipped with comprehensive process monitoring.
Another field of research at the AVT.BioVT is the animal cell culture. The focus here is on the application of online measurement technology in small-scale cultivation systems (mL scale) and the transferability of research results between microtiter plates, shake flasks and stirred bioreactors. To achieve this, established online measurement techniques such as the RAMOS and BioLector technology will be transferred to animal cell culture. Methodologies for online monitoring of cytotoxicity assays and live cell counts are also being developed.