Digital twin of bioreactor for accelerated design and optimal operations in production of complex biologics

Biological products such as exosomes and viral vectors (AAV) have demonstrated significant value in the treatment of a number of cancers and hereditary diseases. Producing these promising therapeutics in bioreactors to obtain large quantities for preclinical and clinical needs is currently a challenge that limits their use. This project will integrate expert knowledge and exploit the advances in AI to accelerate the design and optimization of the production of these 2 key biologics through the implementation and operation of a digital-twin bioreactor connected to a physical bioreactor using a series of sensors in constant communication and feedback. McGill University will examine mechanistic models to describe the biological processes more realistically. The University of Ottawa and the NRC will explore AI and machine learning for development of insilico digital twin.

Project team

Dr. Amine A. Kamen

Dr. Amine A. Kamen is a Canada Research Chair at McGill University and a world expert in the application of bioreactors for the production of biologics. He is currently researching how viral vaccine production can be accelerated by understanding how cells and viruses interact and the cellular metabolic state. 

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Dr. Miodrag Bolic

Dr. Miodrag Bolic is a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa. He is also Director of the Computational Analysis and Acceleration as well as Health Devices research groups. Dr. Bolic is an expert in sensor monitoring and application of machine learning for engineering system analysis. His current research interests include machine learning and signal processing applied mainly to biomedical engineering and pervasive health care. 

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Dr. Nabil Belacel

Dr. Nabil Belacel is a senior research officer at the National Research Council of Canada. He is an expert in operation research and machine learning. The innovative methods he has developed combine optimization, machine learning and multicriteria decision analysis. Dr. Belacel has applied his developed methods to advance research areas such as bioinformatics, educational data mining, cybersecurity, document and image analysis.

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Highly qualified personnel (HQP) bios

Dr. Varun Mehta

Dr. Varun Mehta received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Dharmsinh Desai University, Nadiad in 2010, a Masters of Technology degree in signal processing from IIT Guwahati, Guwahati in 2013 and a PhD from the Department of the Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, Mumbai in 2019. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Ottawa. His expertise is in machine learning with the emphasis on reinforcement learning and signal processing.

Cristóvão Iglesias

Cristóvão Iglesias has been a data scientist and software developer / engineer since 2009. He has a Bachelor's degree in Bioinformatics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and in Information Systems from the Universidade Estácio de Sá (UNESA), as well as a Master's degree in Informatics from UFRJ. He is currently a PhD student and research assistant of the Health Devices Research group at the University of Ottawa in Canada.  He has programming skills in Python, Java, C++, Ruby on Rails, Javascript and Bash script. His knowledge in data science was gained by working on computational biology and bioinformatics projects such as molecular dynamics simulations. His recent work/research has been in personalized health monitoring systems, data fusion, deep learning and digital twins.

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Xingge Xu

Xingge Xu is currently a research assistant and will start his PhD in Dr. Amine Kamen's group at McGill University. He has been working on the downstream processing of influenza vaccine and SARS-CoV-2 RBD protein production. He has experience with heat and mass transfer and cell metabolism modelling of bioreactor.

Ms. Yichen Wu

Ms. Yichen Wu is an undergraduate student who is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in software Engineering at McGill University. She has been developing software programs mainly in Java and Python and has experience in 3D modelling.

Dr. Mounia Akassou

Dr. Mounia Akassou is a postdoctoral fellow working under the supervision of Prof. Amine Kamen. She has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an Engineering diploma in food technologies. She has worked on modelling and optimization of biochemical processes (fermentation) by using statistical multivariable techniques.