Research Group News
News and updates from the Carta research group
News and updates from the Carta research group
Giorgio Carta, the Lawrence R. Quarles Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia, has been appointed a fellow of the International Adsorption Society in recognition of his distinguished research and education in separations technologies.
The international society brings together industry, academic and government researchers from throughout the world working in the field of adsorption – a process of using solids to remove substances from gaseous or liquid solutions. Adsorption is used in myriad settings, from manufacturing to public utilities to national defense, to make products and industrial processes cleaner, safer and more effective.
Carta is a widely cited leader in preparative and process chromatography education and research. Chromatography encompasses techniques for separating mixtures of chemical or biological substances into individual components. Carta, the author or co-author of several books, is a recognized expert in purification processes of biomolecules at manufacturing scale for the production of biopharmaceuticals.
Over his nearly 40 years at UVA, he has mentored many undergraduates and dozens of Ph.D. students, a number of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in biopharmaceuticals. Carta has helped establish UVA chemical engineering as a reliable source of talent for the industry.
Associate professor Geoff Geise, shown in his lab working with undergraduate chem-e major Anna Harris, is one of three faculty members recognized by UVA for research in 2020.
UVA chemical engineering faculty excel in both teaching and research, and the department is rooted in a philosophy that the two go hand in hand. Below are examples of recent accolades, undergraduate student-oriented research and teaching projects, and recognition for work well done.
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers honored Giorgio Carta, the Lawrence R. Quarles Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia with two plenary sessions on Nov. 17 at its 2020 meeting. The sessions in Adsorption and Ion Exchange Area 2e recognize Carta’s important research contributions in the field and his dedicated service to AIChE.
Carta has been a member of the Area 2e Committee since 1986, and served as area vice chair and then area chair between 2004 and 2007. Area 2e is responsible for organizing 10 to 20 technical sessions on adsorption and ion exchange topics each year at the AIChE Annual meeting and for promoting adsorption science and technology, Carta said.
As an Area 2e committee member, Carta has served as session chair or co-chair in more than 20 technical sessions. Area 2e is closely connected with the International Adsorption Society, where Carta also served as a board member between 2007 and 2013.
Textbook publisher Wiley has just released the second edition of Protein Chromatography: Process Development and Scale-Up, co-written by UVA Engineering’s Lawrence R. Quarles Professor of Chemical Engineering Giorgio Carta. First published in 2010, the book warranted an update 10 years later.
Carta, an internationally recognized leader in preparative and process chromatography education and research, wrote the book with biotechnology professor Alois Jungbauer of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria. Chromatography encompasses techniques for separating mixtures of chemical or biological substances into individual components.
The text partially grew out of a two-week short course Carta and Jungbauer developed and taught for many years at their respective universities. The course and the book were designed for engineers, scientists and technical managers, as well as students, seeking a deeper understanding of chromatographic processes and their scale-up, particularly in pharmaceutical manufacturing where achieving purity of drug ingredients is critically important.
Carta noted that many advances occurred in the field since the first edition came out. The update includes work by several alumni who have trained in his UVA lab over the years, he said.
Wiley describes the book as “an all-in-one practical guide on how to efficiently use chromatographic separation methods,” noting, “this fully updated and revised new edition offers comprehensive coverage of continuous chromatography and provides readers with many relevant examples from the biopharmaceutical industry.”
Alan Hunter, a 2002 chemical engineering Ph.D. graduate who studied with Lawrence R. Quarles Professor Giorgio Carta at the University of Virginia, will represent AstraZeneca as the recipient of the 2020 Division of Biochemical Technology of the American Chemical Society (known as ACS BIOT) Industrial Biotechnology Award at the division’s 2020 meeting in Philadelphia. The award honors AstraZeneca’s Lumoxiti process chemistry, manufacturing and controls team, led by Hunter, for its development and scale up of the process used to produce Lumoxiti, an important new biologic cancer drug. Another Carta lab Ph.D. graduate, Timothy Pabst, was also a member of AstraZeneca’s award-winning team.
As a student and member of Carta’s bioseparations engineering lab, Hunter studied process chromatography and protein mass transport. He has worked in the biopharmaceutical industry for more than 15 years, beginning his career in 2004 at Pfizer in the global biologics group. In 2009, he moved to AstraZeneca, where he is director of the biopharmaceutical development purification process sciences group.
Hunter stays involved with the department. He gives an annual lecture on regulatory aspects of biopharmaceutical manufacturing in Carta’s CHE4448 Bioseparation Engineering course. In 2019, he was the keynote speaker at the inaugural CHEERS, the Chemical Engineering Research Symposium.
Carta said Hunter and Pabst collaborate with his lab on research aimed at better understanding and improving biopharmaceutical manufacturing and have published a number of joint papers.
Fourth-year ChE graduate student Lucas Kimerer received a Best Poster Award at the 48th International Symposium on High-Performance Liquid Phase Separations and Related Techniques (known as HPLC 2019) held in Milan, Italy, in June. Lucas’ poster was selected out of 508 poster presentations at the event. He received a certificate and a cash award.
Last fall, Lucas received a Georges Guiochon Chromatography Award for best poster at the 2018 Washington Chromatography Discussion Group Poster Session held in Bethesda, Md., which provided a travel grant allowing him to attend the Milan conference. In Milan, he presented new work titled “Chomatographic Behavior of Bivalent Bispecific Antibodies on Cation Exchange Columns.”
Lucas works in Lawrence R. Quarles Professor of Chemical Engineering Giorgio Carta’s Bioseparations Engineering Lab.
Work by 2017 Ph.D. graduate Mimi Zhu and fourth-year candidate Preston Fuks was featured on the cover of a special issue of the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology dedicated to Bioseparations. Additionally, the publication used a figure submitted by the researchers on the journal cover.
The research, conducted in Professor Giorgio Carta’s Bioseparations Lab as a part of their doctoral dissertations, provides an understanding of protein adsorption of transport in novel chromatographic resins being developed for the purification of biopharmaceutical proteins. It is titled “Protein adsorption in anion exchange resins — effects of polymer grafting, support structure porosity and protein size.”
“Using advanced microscopy tools, Mimi and Preston were able to visualize how proteins partition and diffuse into the chromatographic resins, providing an unparalleled understanding of the relationship between the architecture of the resins and their bioseparation process performance,” Carta said.
Alumnus Ernie X. Pérez Almodóvar recently was promoted to director of manufacturing at Amgen in Juncos, Puerto Rico, where he has worked since earning his Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 2012. Pérez Almodóvar was a researcher in Lawrence R. Quarles Professor Giorgio Carta’s Bioseparations Lab while studying at UVA. In 2012, he earned the Louis T. Rader award.
He joined Amgen’s downstream processes development team as a scientist, becoming a process development senior scientist and senior manager in 2016. In 2017, he was accepted into Amgen’s Operations Leaders Program and moved to the Formulation and Fill facility as a senior manager to complete his first rotation. During his time at the Formulation and Fill facility, and in collaboration with the rest of the senior management leaders, his teams supported multiple new product introductions, decreased disposition cycle time, and implemented improvement projects that led to increased production in 2018 to more than 50 million units.
In his current role, Pérez Almodóvar’s manufacturing team is responsible for approximately 80 percent of the formulation and fill production for Amgen worldwide.
In addition to his work at Amgen, Pérez Almodóvar has provided support to community-based organizations such as Casa Pueblo in Adjuntas, an environmental organization focusing on changing the energy landscape and conservation education in Puerto Rico.
Congrats to 2018 Ph.D grad Arch Creasy, whose presentation took the ‘Best of BIOT’ prize at the spring National Meeting of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Biochemical Technology.