The Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing (CBB) is an interdisciplinary academic research center at the University of Iowa. Its objectives are to: a) enhance faculty and student development in the broad areas of biocatalytic science and bioprocess engineering, b) drive innovative pilot-scale biomanufacturing processes, c) be an academic leader in promoting student careers in biotechnology through unique educational programs, and d) advance University intellectual property by accelerating time to market of bio-products derived from basic academic discoveries.
The Center’s activities stem from a world-renowned group of faculty, scientist, laboratory personnel, graduate students and postdoctoral associates focused on the creation and dissimilation of knowledge in biocatalytic science. Our academic group is recognized for its scientific talent that has secured in excess of $15 million annually in extramural research support. The Center operates a long-standing NIH-funded Predoctoral Training Grant in Biotechnology. A portion of the Center’s operating budget supplements these NIH fellowships and, more importantly, supports additional fellowships for top caliber graduate students across academic disciplines. The Center also provides resources for undergraduate students in the form of employment within the Center’s Fermentation and Bioprocessing Facility as well as with a hands-on instructional lab-course entitled Upstream Biotechnology Processes. A CBB Student Affiliates program enables both graduate and undergraduate students to explore careers in biotechnology, in accord with the State’s emphasis on a bioscience driven economy.
The CBB’s Bioprocessing Facility is a world-class pilot-scale operation that is unmatched by any other university in the United States. This facility serves as a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) with the ability to create high value bio-products. This facility serves as the primary scale-up pilot facility for biotechnology processes within the State of Iowa. The CBB also operates the only facility in the State that manufactures vaccines and therapeutic proteins for Phase I clinical testing.
The Center continues to support both workforce development and economic development. The Center helps Iowa startup companies to produce novel biomaterials and to create commercially viable manufacturing processes, both of which enhance investment opportunities. Iowa entrepreneurs are supported by our ability to manufacture therapeutic proteins in a manner that enables submission of investigative new drug (IND) applications seeking FDA approve for first-in-human testing. The Center also promotes workforce development with novel courses, curricula, and biotech-oriented student internships.
FY 2024 funds will support: 1) programs designed to broaden the scope of careers in biotechnology for undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students, 2) salaries for faculty and P&S administrators that operate the Center, 3) programs designed to enhance both workforce and economic development programs, 4) unique educational coursework, 5) fellowships for graduate students pursing doctorate degrees in biotechnology, 6) our annual CBB Biotechnology Conference which attracts national and international participants, and 7) high-level operation of our bioprocessing facility. This support will create new collaborations designed to attack long-standing societal problems, strengthen graduate programs, accelerate the submission of grant applications to federal granting agencies, and promote careers for Iowa students in fields central to the State’s bioeconomy initiative. The recently awarded EPSCoR grant (National Science Foundation) will enable the CBB to create partnerships with biotechnology companies to promote new Iowa jobs through innovations in advanced biomanufacturing. Funding from this grant will also leverage State support by enhancing the Center’s capacity to produce bio-products at the pilot-scale.