We work in the areas of fermentation and purification of biomolecules, protein engineering for enhanced yields and metabolic engineering. Currently, we are also working to synthesise bio-based materials from sustainable biomass and use various statistical tools, general kinetic reactions and metabolic engineering approaches to simulate the data and carefully studies biosynthetic pathways to divert the energy flux towards desired product. The laboratory has been actively working on conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into biochemicals, with special emphasis on improved bioprocesses for biofuels, proteins and therapeutic molecules.
Production and downstream processing of biomolecules
Bioprocess development using statistical tools and modelling
In-situ bacterial cellulose modification
Production and downstream processing of biomolecules:
Bioprocess engineering lab emphasizes on fermentative production, metabolic engineering and downstream processing of biochemicals. The second-generation biomasses (such as lignocellulosic) are being explored to produce range of biomolecules viz. liquid biofuels, acids, enzymes, and biopolymers as well as therapeutic proteins, high fiber products and rare sugars. We also study simultaneous saccharification and fermentation in a consolidated bioprocess.
Bioprocess development using statistical tools and modelling:
We are working to tackle the challenges associated with gaseous mass transfer in an advanced fermentation systems such as modified airlift bioreactor. Our efforts also include design of continuous multistage bioreactors coupled with in-situ product recovery. Laboratory research also encompasses modeling and control of continuous bioprocess using artificial neural network.
In-situ bacterial cellulose modification:
We are also striving to utilise in-situ bacterial cellulose modifications for its high end applications. We have utilized second generation biomass to produce in-situ bacterial cellulose composites with improved chemical and mechanical properties. Single step cellulose modification using controlled bioprocess is being studied in our group.
Bioprocess engineering group is mainly involved in teachings of related subjects. It mainly includes bioreactor design, control, and its operation and study various cellular level phenomenon. Design of industrial bioprocesses including mass- and energy balances, and their techno-economic assessment is also one of the highlights in our bioprocess related courses.
Professor Sandip Bankar is currently heading ‘Biotechnology’ major master’s program at School of Chemical Engineering since 2017. Besides, he teaches Bachelor level courses.
Bachelor level courses:
- CHEM-C2310-BioprocessTechnology I (5Cr)
- CHEM-C1300-Fundamental Biosciences (5Cr)
Master level courses:
- CHEM-E3140-Bioprocess technology II (5Cr)
- CHEM-E3205-Bioprocess optimization and simulation (5Cr)
The Bioprocess engineering group:
Professor Sandip Bankar, head of the research group:
Prof. Sandip is working at Aalto University since March 2016 to develop bioprocesses of value-added bio-molecules/chemicals/materials. Fermentation and purification of biomolecules is the core of his research interest. His work on ‘bioprocess development of biobutanol for commercial interest’ is noteworthy. Sandip is also acting as an advisor/consultant to couple of start-ups in Finland to design their bioprocesses and assess the market feasibility.
Earlier Sandip earned Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 2005 and switched his interest to Bioprocess technology during Master of Technology studies in 2007. He was then awarded a PhD degree in Bioprocess Technology from Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai India in 2012. Soon after that Sandip joined Aalto University as a post-doctoral research fellow to advance his bioprocess engineering skills. Sandip was then honoured with a prestigious DST-INSPIRE faculty award (IIT grade Assistant Professor) from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India in 2014.
Team members' biographies:
I study methods to improve butanol production through fermentation.
The methods include cofactor manipulation, use of lignocellulosic material for butanol production, integration of product recovery module, and application of intracellular metal nanoclusters.
In my leisure time, I like to cook new dishes, read and watch movies.
I am a responsible teacher in Bioprocess Technology, Bioprocess optimization and simulation and Biolab II courses.
I have taught in our university for 36 years both in English and Finnish and I have given also courses in industry and other universities.
My research topics during the years include e.g. high fiber products from brewer’s spent grain, extrusion cooking, artificial intelligence (AI; using expert systems, fuzzy modeling and neural network modeling) modeling applied to extrusion process modeling, large scale protein crystallization and modeling work concerning about protein crystal mass transfer, L-fucose and fucose polysaccharide production, bioreactor cultivation modeling and control, biobutanol production and mass transfer challenges in fermentations.
During my free time I play guitar and sing in a blues band, go to fishing, play golf and go to skiing when snow is available.