UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Integrated Downstream Processing

Course Code
Level MSc
Credits 15 credits
Module Tutor
Dr Yuhong Zhou 
Written Examination Paper (75%)
Coursework (25%)
Prerequisites Intermediate level of Biochemistry


To provide training for MSc biochemical engineers, via lectures, case studies and pilot

plant study, in the engineering principles underlying the operations and processes for the recovery and purification of biological materials. The course focuses on how operations need to be integrated to create a whole sequence where issues of ease of operation, safety and environmental impact are considered at the selection stage. Taught alongside industrial delegates this course provides a blend of theory and application supported by insights to cutting-edge developments in the field.

Learning Outcomes

Following completion of the course, students will have an understanding of:

  • the reasons for selection of particular operations considered from a whole bioprocess perspective.
  • the mechanisms of operation and the key design equations needed for equipment sizing and performance estimation.
  • the full implications of operation selection on the robustness of operation and the ease/safety/cost of operation.
  • the whole bioprocess operation through practical application of these principles via extended individual and team-based pilot-scale activity.

Learning Hours


Lectures: 30h
Industry expert seminars: 10h


The recovery and purification of biological products from complex sources such as fermentation or cell culture represents the major challenge for the provision of safe and effective materials, for therapeutic use and for industrial applications.

The course is designed to progress through the logic of a bioprocess sequence from basic cell removal through to high resolution purification and formulation.

Particle recovery and purification processes are examined as the early stages in the separation of biological materials. Operations include centrifugation, filtration, membrane separation, precipitation and crystallisation. Complementary extraction operations include liquid/liquid reaction and cell disruption.

High resolution purification and finishing operations take the material to final form for use - operations studied include chromatography.

The course is concluded with a summary of how complete recovery and purification sequences may be best put together. This provides the ideal precursor to pilot plant studies and third/fourth year design projects.