Media center

Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology
in partnership with the
CSL Behring Fermentation Facility
Home of the Sartorius Fermentation Gallery and GEA Downstream Processing Suit

Sartorius Cell Culture Facility
Society for Industrial Biotechnology (SIB)

Research Media Contact

Wendy Oakes

Associate Director, Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology

Workforce Development Media Contact

Seth Woolcock

Communications Strategist, Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology


In 2016, the U.S. bioscience industry directly employed more than 1.7 million people, with the industry’s economic output supporting a total of 8 million jobs throughout the U.S economy.1 However, “...there is a global shortage of people who are suitably trained for the complex and rapidly-changing world of biopharmaceutical manufacturing.”2 Experts have noted that “...there are blockbuster biologics out there that aren’t being developed because they don’t have somebody at hand to be able to do that.”3


The Penn State Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology Center and the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility were established in 2017 through a $4.92 million gift from CSL Behring. Additional equipment was donated by Sartorius Stedim Biotech and GEA North America. Together, the Center and Facility serve as a focal point for Penn State’s research activities, educational initiatives, and outreach efforts in the broad area of industrial biotechnology.

The Facility is the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences’ only corporate-named core research facility delivering unique capabilities for an academic institution. The Facility was designed to highlight state-of-the-art equipment, from bench-top to pilot scale, supporting these aspects of fermentation technology:

  • Growth of a wide range of microorganisms
  • Production/purification of microbial-derived products (recombinant proteins, industrial enzymes, biofuels, and bio-based chemicals)

The Center and Facility’s collaboration provides the training required to ensure Penn State’s students enter the biotechnology market skilled and ready to impact this evolving market. Students learn on the exactequipment used in global biotechnology research and manufacturing facilities, providing them with hands-on experience with pilot-scale fermentation and purification technology.

1 EConomy/BIO

2 Skills Shortage: An Imminent Threat to Life Sciences Innovation, 4 17 2019

3 Eric Langer, 11 14 2018,

Press Releases and News

Building a Skilled Workforce

  • 900 hours of student volunteerism produced students adept in upstream and downstream processing
  • 62 students from 13 departments completed fermentation projects
  • Nine student learning modules in upstream and downstream processing have been developed

Producing Faculty and Student Research

  • $100,000 dispersed annually for faculty and student research
  • 36 principle investigators explored a wide range of topics, including malaria, cow tuberculosis vaccine and gene editing
  • Five projects supported by Center funds spanning three academic colleges

Facilitating Corporate and Community Outreach

  • 50 high-school students from New York toured the Facility to learn about the role of fermentation in drug development
  • Six companies are conducting early stage development research
  • First fermentation technology workshop held for industry employees leveraged technical staff and faculty expertise

High Resolution Photos