MIC 292 - From Discovery to Product

MIC 292 - From Discovery to Product: An Introduction to Biotechnology at the Industrial Level

Note: This is an elective DEB seminar course offered in alternate Winter Quarters (e.g. WQ2020, WQ2022) that may substitute for one of the three required quarters of

Winter Quarter 2022

The most recent iteration of this industrial biomanufacturing course focused largely on the production of alternative proteins and cultured dairy, meats and fats for food, including talks by Perfect Day, The Better Meat Company, California Cultured, TurtleTree and Mission Barns. We also welcomed Davis Bioscience Group to talk about plant-based bioprocessing and Huue to talk about sustainable bioprocessing for textile dyes. For more details, check out the course syllabus and speaker schedule.

MIC 292 Syllabus 2022 Final Speaker Schedule.pdf

TurtleTree Seminar
Dr. Vanessa Castagna (Scientific Affairs Liaison, TurtleTree) and Dr. Emma Skoog (Senior Scientist, TurtleTree) gave a talk, "Comparing Application of Cellular Agriculture for Cultivated Meat and Milk" on Feb 28, 2022.
Mission Barns Seminar
Dr. George Engelmeyr (CTO, Mission Barns) joined us on March 7, 2022, for a talk on "Cultivating Meat from Cells: Technology and Team Work".

DEB/ECH294. The date and time of the course offering has typically been Monday at noon (subject to change, so check the official winter quarter course schedule).

**We will not be offering the course in WQ'2024 and are working to identify an instructor of record for a potential offering in WQ'2025.** 

MIC292 provides a unique opportunity for UC Davis students and community members to gain insights into basic and applied biotechnology at the industrial level. Lectures will be presented by industry scientists and we will aim to arrange at least one site tour (depending on pandemic restrictions). The course is aimed at all graduate students in all areas of biology, engineering and agriculture and is an approved seminar elective for the Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (DEB) graduate program, as noted above. 

Course Summary

MIC292 provides a unique opportunity for UC Davis students and community members to gain insights into bioindustrial manufacturing and applications in human/animal health and nutrition, agriculture, and natural resource preservation. Lectures will include presentations by scientists working in biotech companies focused on producing novel industrial enzymes, fibers and textiles, foods, biofuels, and other widely used materials. Promoting environmental sustainability is a key driver for innovation in this technology space and we’ll touch on societal impacts, as well as learning more about the upstream and downstream platform technologies and approaches that support industrial R&D and commercial deployment goals.

Course Format and Topics

We will be meeting in-person in 1022 Green Hall on Mondays at noon for most class meetings. The lecture room has Zoom capability and all lectures will be broadcast and recorded on Zoom. We may have guest lecturers who opt to Zoom from a distance for their presentations – on those days, we will not meet in person. Class participants will be notified of Zoom days via Canvas announcement.

The format for the seminar series will consist of an introductory lecture by the course instructors and 7 guest lectures by industry research scientists. A variety of topics related to bioindustrial manufacturing will be covered and may include, though not limited to, the following:

  • Identifying, characterizing and engineering production strains/cell types for bioprocessing
    • Common biomanufacturing cell types / cell banking
    • Metabolic pathway engineering
    • Microcarriers / co-cultivation of cell types
  • Bioprocess development and optimization
    • Cell growth / optimization
    • Media components and costs
    • Bioreactor types and applications  
  • Downstream product purification and formulation
    • Biomolecule separation and purification
    • Bioprinting / development of complex 3D products
    • Storage, stability and packaging
  • Scale-up and Commercialization
    • Automation of upstream and downstream processes/data management
    • Regulatory affairs
    • Technoeconomic and life cycle analyses
    • Product development/marketing


Grading / Expectations for Participation and Attendance

Course Attendance (80 pts)

Course attendance and participation during in-class discussions will be expected. Attendance at each of 8 class meetings (10 pts per meeting) will earn 80pts. Students should contact the course instructors if they have missed a lecture to receive the Zoom recording link in order to inform the final writing assignment, but the missing points will not be restored.

Final Writing Assignment (100 pts)

Students should take notes during each guest lecture and use these to inform a ~3-4 page final writing assignment that:

  1. Summarizes the presented information on company mission, R&D/bioprocessing approaches and products in development or on the market. (Note: There may be more than one guest lecturer per company and information on related lectures may be included in the same section or paragraph, if needed.)
  2. Highlights the potential for environmental, economic, political and/or societal impacts of the presented technologies.