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Fermentation Cell Culture: University Style

Scott Stevens, Ph.D.

Use of a large-scale fermentor for gene expression study advances research in directions previously thought unimaginable.

Scott Stevens, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology,
University of Texas at Austin,1 University Station, #A4800,2500 Speedway,Austin,TX
78712-1095,512.232.4303,
Fax:512.232,3432,
scott.stevens@mail.utexas.edu.


Its definitely the exception to the rule for university-based research facilities to conduct fermentation studies utilizing the capabilities of a 500 liter fermentor. Recently BioPharm International capitalized on an opportunity to chat with noted cell culture researcher Scott Stevens, who currently is growing a diverse group of cultures with the use of just such a fermentor at his facility at the University of Texas at Austin, with noteworthy results.

BioPharm: Describe the work youre doing in the laboratory at University of Texas at Austin and what you hope to accomplish.

Stevens: In my laboratory we study ribonucleoprotein structure and function, specifically the structure and function of those ribonucleoproteins involved in gene expression. The small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), which are our primary interest, are present in relatively low abundance (200 to 500 molecules per cell in yeast) making their isolation and structural characterization a particular challenge. We hope to determine the low-resolution structural arrangement of these snRNPs by cryoelectron microscopy and eventually, the high-resolution structure by X-ray crystallography. To produce milligram- scale quantities of these complex molecules that contain dozens of proteins and several small
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