Dragana P C de Barros

Dragana P C de Barros

Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Universidade de Lisboa

Title: Novel tools and approaches in downstream processing of biomolecules


Dragana P C de Barros is a post-doctoral researcher in Instituto Superior Técnico at Lisabon, Portugal. She graduated from Belgrade University, Serbia and got her first professional appointment in industry as an engineer. Afterwards, she moved to Portugal where she completed her PhD at 2010 at Instituto Superior Técnico (Technical University of Lisbon). Her area of expertise is applied biotechnology with special attention to biocatalysis and bioseparation. She has published more than 10 papers in reputed journals.


With the growing request for new therapeutics, there has been an increase in the number of biopharmaceutical industries and as a consequence an increase in research and development in this area. Downstream processing of biological products from fermentation broth is an important step of the bioprocessing. The importance of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) as new and highly promising biopharmaceuticals for treatment of several diseases has been increasing. After the cell culture process, where the mAbs are produced and secreted to the cell culture supernatant, it is necessary to purify the final product. The purification is typically a changeling step that further increases the cost of the process and can represent more than 80% of the total manufacturing cost. The downstream purification process of antibodies typically involves several chromatography steps and has a high associated cost due to the resins cost and the limited time cycles. Novel cost effective and scalable methods for purification of biomolecules (recombinant proteins, mAbs, DNA, VLPs, RNA) and cells which enables integration of unit operations are the future of downstream processing. ATPS is one of the unit operations selected for process integration and intensification. Liquid-liquid extraction in aqueous two phase systems (ATPSs) is a powerful, non-chromatographic, unit operation for the separation of biomolecules, which has been successfully applied in the purification of different biological materials. Moreover, this technique is relatively simple and inexpensive, is easily operated and scale-up, has a high resolution capacity and allows clarification, purification and concentration to be integrated in just one step.