3D printed devices for the separation of biologics

The advent of 3D printing is revolutionizing the world as we see it. 3D printing is not only about plastic ware. Today concrete homes, sugar cakes and even human organs are 3D printed.

This project, run in partnership between the University of Edinburgh and FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies UK (FDB), employs 3D printing to create bespoke solutions and processes for the biopharmaceutical industry.

In particular, this project focuses on the 3D printing of chromatography columns, i.e. devices to purify biopharmaceuticals and therapeutics, such as those to treat cancer or Alzheimer, to extremely high (99.99%) purity levels. Current purification methods rely on randomly packed beds, a technology developed in the 1940 affected by inefficiencies and high manufacturing costs. Computer simulations demonstrated that ordered structures have significantly improved separation efficiencies, requiring approximately half the size of current equipment. With 3D printing, it is now possible to fabricate ordered structures for chromatography.

Our group employs additive manufacturing to fabricate devices for the bioprocessing industry. Our research focuses on high resolution 3D printing of porous structures with ordered design. We also develop materials with appropriate chemical and physical properties to suit a range of bioprocesses, from bioseparations, to bioreactors, to drug delivery scaffolds.

FDB is a world leading contract development and manufacturing organization for biopharmaceuticals and advanced therapies. In the last 20 years FDB has developed processes for over 300 products, including recombinant proteins, viral vaccines and gene therapies, for the clinic, commercialization, and long term manufacture. These are life-changing medicines used by patients around the world.

This project will develop tailored chromatography designs and materials to address FDB separation challenges. Ultimately, this will lead to improved product quality as well as lower drug costs. This is required, now more than ever, with austerity resulting in tighter healthcare budgets worldwide.

Through this project, the successful PhD candidate will learn practical aspects of bioprocessing, how to operate latest 3D printers, and become familiar with a range of techniques, e.g. spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and others as required. The student will become part of a team and collaborate with research students and postdoctoral fellows currently working in this area. As part of this project, the successful PhD candidate will spend a minimum of 3 month placement at the industrial site.

Further Information: 


If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Dr. Simone Dimartino sending your CV. Contact details: Simone.Dimartino@ed.ac.uk or 01316507305.

Closing Date: 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
3D printed devices for the separation of biologics
3D printed devices for the separation of biologics

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Funding is yet to be confirmed.  If funding is secured, interviews will take place after 31st July 2019.  

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: