Alexander Armstrong

Research focus: Data mining approaches for on-line estimations of product quality and development of advanced control strategies for continuous bioprocesses.
Alexander Armstrong received his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering with Honors (Cum Laude) at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Indiana, USA). During this time, Alexander completed an internship under Prof. Brian Glennon in Dublin, Ireland, designing a pilot scale packed bed pressurized hot water extractor. Furthermore, under Dr. Irene Reizman, he completed bioreactor research simulating large scale oxygen gradients on a laboratory scale. He completed a Master’s Degree in Life Science and Technology (Specialization: Biochemical Engineering) at TU Delft in the Netherlands. There he participated in the 2018 iGEM team as the Modelling Manager, which developed a targeted sequencing method to combat gene doping. The team went on to win Best New Application and Best Product Design in the Boston Giant Jamboree, as well as being nominated for five other awards. Alexander completed his master thesis in Dr. Stan Brouns’ laboratory focused on comparing the target search dynamics of the CRISPR-Cas I-F and I-E immune systems in vivo. The thesis coupled microbiology, microscopy, and modelling techniques to visualization CRISPR proteins in cells, determining their diffusion and kinetic parameters. During July 2019, Alexander participated in the TU Delft sponsored biotech Mastertrip to Singapore and Malaysia, focused on meeting representatives from companies and universities in the region. Following his Master’s Degree, Alexander was awarded with a Marie Skolodowska-Curie actions PhD fellowship, in the framework of the CODOBIO project, under the supervision of Prof. Suzanne Farid and Dr. Stephen Goldrick (University College London, England). The primary research focus is the development of multivariate data analysis (MVDA) models to enable on-line predictions of product quality and identify optimum process operating conditions for continuous chromatography and other downstream process operations.

Research focus:

Effect of temperature on chromatography purification

Short description of the project:

Maximizing product quality attributes by optimizing process parameters and performance attributes is crucial to bioprocess chromatography process design. Process parameters include but are not limited to bed height, eluate cut points, and elution pH. An under-characterized chromatography process parameter for protein A chromatography is process temperature. The project focused on developing a mechanistic understanding of the effects of temperature on the purification of a monoclonal antibody using a commercial chromatography resin for batch and continuous counter-current systems.

What new skill/skills did you learn?

I gained experience working with chromatography equipment and designing experiments. Furthermore, I learned to program in Python and developed skills in chromatography modelling. Finally, I developed my presentation skills at conferences and my writing skills by working on my thesis and paper manuscripts.

What did you enjoy most about your project?

I enjoyed meeting and collaborating with CODOBIO project members as well as other PhD students. I also appreciated the opportunity to attend and present at conferences.

What do you believe is your biggest contribution to the scientific community?

Furthering the characterization of the effects of temperature on chromatography purification.

What would your advice be for future Early-Stage Researchers at the start of their project?

Develop a clear project plan as early as possible in your Ph.D. and concrete goals to achieve those plans. Second, allow for flexibility in your project, as unforeseen events can rapidly affect the course of your project. Finally, take the initiative to plan out conferences and paper publications.

What do you plan next?

I am working at Amgen in Thousand Oaks as a Process Development Senior Scientist focused on early-stage drug development.
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