Topochemical Fractionation of Biopharmaceuticals

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 15 Aug 2022

(ref. BAP-2022-548)

Laatst aangepast : 21/07/2022

The Department of Chemical Engineering at KU Leuven aims to provide a balance between creative fundamental and applied research in selected topics of chemical engineering, while at the same time maintaining the necessary core competences in its faculty to ensure the education of chemical engineering master and PhD students. Given the prevalence and economical importance of the chemical process industry in Belgium, and especially in the Antwerp harbour, the societal role of the department in the education and training of chemical engineers (MSc Eng and PhD) is very important. At the same time, chemical engineering research is being performed which aims to be pushing the boundaries of our discipline. The department has decided to focus on high quality research in a selected number of areas, with at each time sufficient critical mass being gathered around relevant topics. The department has three divisions in Leuven: Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems Section (Process), Soft Matter, Rheology and Technology Section (SMaRT) and Chemical and Biochemical Reactor Engineering and Safety (CREaS). This project will be mainly conducted at CREaS division. To accomplish its mission of exploiting and enhancing (bio)chemical reactor processes and process safety, CREaS integrates expertise, methodologies and techniques from different (bio)chemical reactor and process engineering domains, going from macro- and microscopic analysis of (bio)chemical processes, via modelling and design, to process optimization. The research of Prof. Fardim at CREaS division, laboratory of Topochemical Engineering and Biointerfaces (TEOS) focuses on fractionation and purification of biopolymers from plant biomass or biotechnologically produced materials. The purified polymers are then post- functionalized with chemical or biochemical reactions to create high performance polymers for diverse applications in health and care. Shaping of biopolymers into highly engineered 2D and 3D architectures is performed using different processing techniques. Topochemical engineering is used as concept to design fractionation (disassembly) and fabrication (assembly) of 2D and 3D bioshapes. Hybridization of biopolymers with synthetic polymers and inorganics is performed and dynamic, stimuli-responsive biopolymer-hybrids are created. The research is conducted based on engineering design of the whole value chain, from production to bioproduct fabrication and in close interdisciplinary collaboration with biomedical, food and pharmaceutical sciences and industry.

  • Biopharmaceuticals are pharmaceutical products of high-added value that are produced using living organisms in controlled conditions such as bioprocess and cell cultures.
  • Topochemical engineering is a method of designing the fractionation (disassembly) and fabrication (assembly) of highly engineered functional materials using a combination of molecular and supramolecular techniques.
  • Topochemical fractionation of cell hydrolysates allows directed disassembly of selected cell components and facilitates their valorisation to high added value products such as the ones used in health and care
  • You will create a new technological platform based on the concept of waterfinery, i.e. using water as a medium for topochemical fractionation and valorisation of biopolymers
  • You will have access to state-of-the art technology in biopolymer fractionation and characterisation
  • You will collaborate with world top level experts in biopolymer fractionation and valorisation
  • You will travel and test your ideas and findings in large scale facilities with support of high-level innovation team

  • A doctoral degree in Engineering, Biosciences or Chemistry
  • Excellent skills in planning and performing laboratory work
  • Independence, perseverance and positive attitude towards challenges and opportunities
  • Curiosity and openness to discover new breakthroughs
  • Interest to collaborate with top level companies and to advance new sustainable technologies in biomass conversion
  • English language skills in reading, listening, writing and speaking
  • Knowledge of Spanish is a plus but not arequirement

  • Post-doctoral Doctoral training of independent research
  • Top 50 University in the world, Top 10 in Europe
  • Excellent research facilities
  • Excellent opportunities of collaboration with world-class top scientists
  • Post-doctoral resaerch in collaboration with a company
  • Excellent job opportunities after completion of the project


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Pedro Fardim, tel.: +32 16 32 09 70, mail:

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