KU Leuven

Downstream Bioprocess Engineer

2024-07-01 (Europe/Brussels)
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KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

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The Trellis team is looking for a motivated and skilled Bioprocess Engineer to perform downstream process (DSP) development and implement innovative bioprocessing solutions. Our goal? To meet the needs of modern-day vector production.

Trellis, headed by prof. Els Henckaerts, is a pioneering lab that works on the cutting edge of AAV biology research and translational science to develop novel AAV-based gene therapies for the clinic.
Recent advances in gene therapy have boosted the commercial value of clinical AAV vectors. However, large-scale manufacture of high-quality vectors remains a challenge. So, the need for innovative solutions in upstream and downstream bioprocessing is indisputable.

You will be part of the AAV manufacturing team tasked with developing and optimizing AAV manufacturing processes. Exploring and implementing innovative technologies and processes is part of your job. This allows you to influence and drive the long-term ambition to develop a scalable and robust manufacturing platform for AAV vectors within KU Leuven.
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As an expert in downstream purification for AAV vectors, you will
• optimize the DSP for AAV vectors including clarification, chromatography purification and formulation using existing and newly developed technologies as well as those developed in-house
• design and implement scale-up methodologies for AAV vector purification with quality, yield and cost-efficiency in mind
• apply bioprocess engineering strategies to optimize the AAV purification methods towards GMP-compatible standards
• investigate and develop novel technologies in the current manufacturing process 
• write and review technical documents including SOPs and reports of the DSP activities.
But of course, you’re also a team player.
• You are responsible for AAV vector manufacture for internal projects as well as for collaborations with external partners in biotech and pharma.
• You will work with the quality team responsible for AAV vector analytics.
• Training and managing a small team of technicians is also part of your job.
• And you will effectively communicate the info gathered from your data analysis and report back to the relevant team members and collaborators.


You’re our ideal DSP engineer if you have:
• a PhD in Biochemistry, Bio-engineering, Biomedical Sciences or equivalent through relevant experience
• expertise in DSP development for biologics
• hands-on experience with filtration and chromatography instruments such as AKTA Flux, AKTA Purifier/Pure/Explorer/Avant
• strong knowledge on membrane filtration (normal flow and tangential flow) and chromatography (affinity, ion exchange, size exclusion)
• a self-starting, pro-active attitude, being able to identify and tackle DSP challenges with minimal guidance
• the ability to take initiative, work independently, and drive projects forward with minimal supervision
If you have experience in working with viral vectors, that’s a plus.
And we’d like you to
• easily understand (statistical) data analysis and quality management
• work detail-oriented
• strive for continuous improvement of yourself and your work
• have excellent communication skills
• can work effectively within a team
• know how to prioritize and navigate your work in a fast-paced and rapidly evolving research environment
• speak and write English fluently


• An interesting job in a team of ± 20 people with different backgrounds and expertise, all sharing the same ambition: delivering new therapeutics to patients.
• The opportunity to work in a well-funded, state-of-the-art lab that nurtures novel research initiatives.
• Gaining deep knowledge of gene therapy research and the associated development process.
• Superb career development opportunities with a long-term perspective.
• The chance to connect to a dynamic network of both academies and industrial partners in an international setting. 


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Els Henckaerts, tel.: +32 16 37 61 96, mail: els.henckaerts@kuleuven.be or Mrs. Irina Thiry, tel.: +32 16 37 40 42, mail: irina.thiry@kuleuven.be.

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Job details

Downstream Bioprocess Engineer
Oude Markt 13 Leuven, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-07-01 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-07-01 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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About the employer

KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.

Visit the employer page