Sept. 27: "Biophysical virus characterization to improve stability and purification"
Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Time: 9:30-10:30AM
Location: Health Science Technology Building (HST), Forum Room 101
This event features Caryn Heldt, who will talk about "Biophysical virus characterization to improve stability and purification", as part of the Lehigh University Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering's Fall 2023 Colloquium Seminar Series.


The manufacturing of viral products often leads to low yields of poorly characterized products. My lab is focuses on many of these issues, trying to find ways to bring viral products to market by reducing the time needed in development and increasing yields. This talk will be an overview of some of the questions we ask and the methods we employ to answer these questions. We have developed a single-particle method using an AFM to characterize the binding properties of viral particles. We have measured changes in ionic and hydrophobic interactions in different solution conditions. To thermally stabilize viral particles, we are exploring dense polyelectrolyte systems that encapsulate and concentrate virus. This system could be used for formulation of gene therapy vectors or thermally sensitive vaccines. In the purification space, we are focused on using aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) to purify virus. We are exploring additives and equipment modifications to improve the processability of continuous ATPS. Overall, our work is informing the vaccine and gene therapy industry on how to better process and stabilize viral particles.

About the Speaker

Dr. Caryn L. Heldt is the Director of the Health Research Institute, the James and Lorna Mack Chair in Bioengineering, a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and an Affiliate Professor in Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University. She received her B.S. in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 2001. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2008 and completed a two-year postdoc at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 2015, Dr. Heldt was awarded an NSF CAREER award to study virus surface chemistry. She was awarded the Bhakta Rath Research award at Michigan Tech in 2021 and the Faculty Distinguished Service award in 2022.  Her lab is focused on the purification, inactivation and stability of viruses and gene therapy vectors.

Director of Health Research Institute,
James and Lorna Mack Endowed Chair of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering,
Professor of Chemical Engineering,
Michigan Technological University