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May 2019


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"Martha A. Grover" <[log in to unmask]>
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Martha A. Grover
Thu, 16 May 2019 21:55:27 -0400
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A postdoctoral position is available beginning in September of this year on an FDA-supported project entitled “Continuous synthesis, crystallization, and isolation (CSCI) of an API: process model-controlled enzymatic synthesis of beta-lactam antibiotics.”  The postdoctoral position will involve design of reactor and crystallizer, as well as construction of a pilot plant for beta-lactam manufacturing, including system integration and controls.  The postdoctoral associate will be expected to develop models and experimental data, work with and mentor PhD students and undergraduate researchers, and focus on publications.  This multi-faceted project also encompasses three PhD theses and projects for various research undergraduates; it is co-advised by three faculty members from Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Andy Bommarius, Martha Grover, and Ronald Rousseau.  The ideal applicant will have a PhD in chemical engineering or a related discipline, with experience in crystallization as well as mathematical modeling. The ideal applicant will also have strong communication and teamwork skills.  This one-year position may be renewed for a second year.

Applications should be sent to Martha Grover  at [log in to unmask] or to Andy Bommarius at [log in to unmask] or to Ronald W. Rousseau at [log in to unmask], and should include a cover letter, a CV, and a list of at least three references with contact information.

Project Description

Manufacturing of drugs in continuous processes, instead of the traditional batch processing, is envisioned to lead to more consistent product quality, faster ramp-up in times of shortages, such as during outbreaks of pandemics, and less environmental impact of the production plants.  We propose to demonstrate the concept of continuous synthesis, crystallization, and isolation (CSCI) on the example of enzyme-catalyzed beta-lactam antibiotics active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production.  Cephalexin and amoxicillin, representative for cephalosporins and penicillins, respectively, will be our target products. As the FDA has issued Guidances regarding precautions against cross-contamination for both penicillins and cephalosporins, redesign of beta-lactam manufacturing plants towards dedicated facilities will be pertinent and advantageous.  Key features of our process include employment of i) an established biocatalyst, Pen G acylase, ii) a recently developed improved kinetic model, and iii) reactive crystallization to enhance selectivity and reduce cycle time.  We propose to develop novel integrated reactors and separators as well as an overall process model, to support PAT and process control around a chosen operating point. Our design is intended to enable beta-lactam API production in dedicated, compact, less capital-intensive plants, which in turn is envisioned to lead to better access to medicines for patents and consumers and ultimately to less expensive drugs.