Michael J. Betenbaugh

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware (’88)

Research Interests

  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Cell Line Optimization
  • Mammalian Cell and Microalgae Genetic Engineering
  • Green Energy (Biofuels Production)

Professor Betenbaugh serves as the Chair of Engineering for Professionals (ChemBE). He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1988 and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1981.

His research group integrates systems biology with cellular, metabolic, and biochemical engineering for eukaryotic biotechnology applications. The goal is to optimize cell lines to produce high quality and quantities of proteins of biopharmaceutical interest as well as biochemicals of medical and energy interest. The Mammalian Cell Engineering Group focuses on inhibition of programmed cell death (apoptosis) and glycoengineering using genetic engineering strategies. By blocking certain metabolic pathways which initiate the apoptosis program, the group has been able to delay cell death and increase protein production. By modifying glycosylation pathways, it has been able to increase the therapeutic quality of recombinant glycoproteins generated by mammalian cells. In concert, they are examining metabolic and biochemical engineering strategies to manipulate microalgae for the improved production of biochemical and biofuels precursors in order to develop sustainable bioprocesses for the next generation of green chemistry.

Professor Betenbaugh is also currently the lead PI of a newly awarded Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) funded by NSF and industrial sponsors. The Advanced Mammalian Biomanufacturing Innovation Center (AMBIC) is currently sponsored by 16 companies, including major biopharmaceutical manufacturers, contract manufacturers, and suppliers. Projects in the areas of upstream mammalian cell culture sponsored at Johns Hopkins include epigenomics, glycan analytics, reference cell line development, mathematical modeling, and mammalian cell metabolism. Additional academic participants include Clemson University, University of Delaware, and University of Massachusetts, Lowell. More information can be found at www.ambic.org.

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