The Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing (CBB) is an interdisciplinary academic research center at the University of Iowa. Its mission is to: a) enhance faculty and student development in the broad areas of biocatalytic science and bioprocess engineering, b) drive innovative industrial fermentation processes through efforts within its state-of-the-art bioprocessing pilot plant facility, and c) accelerate economic development through translational research and academic derived intellectual property.
The Center’s activities stem from a powerful group of scientists, laboratory personnel, graduate students and postdoctoral associates focused on 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 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 new CBB Student Affiliates program is under development to better engage both graduate and undergraduate students to explore careers in biotechnology, in accord with the State’s emphasis on a bioscience driven economy.
The CBB Fermentation and 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 objective of creating high value biotechnology products. This facility serves as the primary scale-up pilot plant operation for biotechnology processes within the State of Iowa. The CBB also operates the only facility in the State of Iowa that manufactures vaccines and therapeutic proteins for Phase I clinical trials in people.
The Center continues to support 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. Our ability to manufacture bio-based chemicals is central to our support of investigative new drug (IND) applications required to gain approval from the FDA for Phase I clinical testing. In addition, the Center works with several well-established companies in Iowa, and from around the world, to produce high value protein-based products. In this capacity, the CBB provides unsurpassed expertise from both its academic faculty and professional staff to enhance translational research and commercialization.
FY2020: Funds for FY 2020 will provide administrative salary support (faculty and P&S), support for academic as well as economic development programs, and resources to enhance biotechnology scale-up efforts for companies in Iowa, across the nation, and worldwide. State funds will be leveraged with CBB facility-generated resources to support a newly created seed grant program designed to catalyze innovations in research across academic research disciplines. The objective of each seed grant is to stimulate fresh ideas and create new collaborations for the purpose of attacking long-standing societal problems, strengthening graduate programs, and stimulating the submission of grant applications to federal granting agencies.