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BB2450 The Cell Factory 7.5 credits

This course focuses on the exploitation of microorganisms and eukaryotic cellular systems and their biochemical pathways for the synthesis and modification of products at an industrial scale. Het is de interface tussen biochemie, microbiologie, eukaryote celbiologie en schaal-up / industriële bioprocessen. It exploits the basic knowledge from the Biochemistry and Microbiology courses from the second year and serves as a basis for the "Energy and Environment" and "Bioprocess Design" courses proposed at the end of the 4th year and during the 5th year.

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For course offering

Spring 2025 Start 17 Mar 2025 programme students

Application code


Headings with content from the Course syllabus BB2450 (Autumn 2021–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

  • Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure, including plant and mammalian cells, and cellular compartment functions, including sub-cellular localization of specific metabolic pathways
  • Specific prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathways for the production of complex biomolecules, including cellulose, alginate, chitins, glycoproteins and fatty acids, etc.
  • Describe prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell factories, including special features of eukaryotic hosts, such as codon usage, post-translational modifications, protein folding, protein processing, of disulfide bond formation
  • Metabolic engineering of fungi and plant systems, including transformation system (e.g. plastid targeting, Agrobacterium)- emphasis on carbohydrate polymers, plasticizer, lipid-derivatives, and punctually on biofuel production
  • Exploitation on other cell factory systems, such as algal system, and their metabolic pathways for the bioproduction.
  • Describe new technologies in synthetic biology, and how this has impact in bioproduction 
  • Cost-benefit analysis (including environmental and social economical impact) for the sustainable production in the pathways specific/certain types of organisms which the products have potential applications
  • Process of mammalian cell-based system (e.g. Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, HEK293) for the manufacturing of biologics Development of mammalian cell-based processes, fed-batch and perfusion, aimed at commercial production for the production of biopharmaceuticals including scale-up aspects, requirements of patient safety and compliance to regulatory constraints
  • Demonstration of fed-batch bioreactor process using Chinese Hamster Ovary cell for the production of monoclonal antibody

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the course (ILOs), the students should be able to:

  • Describe and differentiate microorganisms and eukaryotic cellular systems, including mammalian cells, and their biochemical pathways.
  • Discuss with reference to scientific literature the challenges and potential opportunities in using genetically engineered cell factories for the production of biopharmaceuticals/biomolecules/chemicals/fuels at an industry scale.
  • Design a cell factory approach to the production of a given product, with reference to supporting scientific literature.
  • Design a cultivation process using mammalian cell system for the production of biologics fit for industrial purpose, i.e. robust and reproducible process using appropriate mammalian cell line and expression system, integrating scale-up constraints, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), and awareness of patient safety, as well as describe and discuss how such a process is developed
  • Design, evaluate, execute and present in written form an independent laboratory project report.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Completed BB1150 Biochemistry or similar.

Recommended prerequisites

- BB1100 Biochemistry laboratory or equivalent

- BB2020 Molecular enzymology or equivalent


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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • KON1 - Intermediate Exam 1, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • LAB1 - Laboratory work, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • NÄR1 - Mandatory Participation at Lectures, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Written Exam, 4.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Two intermediate exams (KON1 ) cover the course content from Module 1-2. Each exam consists of 8-10 questions based on theoretical knowledge and concepts within the course.  To pass students need to possess basic knowledge and concepts within the course.

Lab Assignment, to pass student must be able to hand in the assignment on time and to demonstrate reasonable theoretical and practical knowledge in written form.  Peer review is required. 

Final exam of BB2450 (TEN1) consists of two parts. TEN1 Part I consists of 5-7 basic questions, and TEN1 Part II consists of 8-12 more advanced questions. The questions from Part I cover the basic knowledge and concepts within the course. Part II questions are based more on the details of knowledge and applications, and students need to be able to demonstrate the understanding and interconnection the complex metabolic pathways, the methods to manipulate them for the bio-production, and the scaling up bioprocessing steps. The latter half of Part II includes particularly advanced questions. Advance knowledge within the content of the course is required for higher grades. 

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study


Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

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Yves Hsieh (

Supplementary information

Studenter er forpligtet til at tilmelde sig mindst to uger i forvejen for eksamen.

The course is given provided at least seven students are admitted.