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Cell cultivation techniques: An introduction

Zurich University of Applied Sciences via edX


Over the past 20 years, many aspects of cell cultivation techniques have become increasingly important. Today, animal and human cell cultures are used to produce antibodies to treat cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. In addition, these cells are of interest for vaccine production and gene therapies.

The current focus is on sustainability, therefore plant cell and tissue cultures have recently been used in commercial products, active ingredients in cosmetics, and food additives, and they are also used to make therapeutic enzymes. That, however, is not all. Human stem cell-based therapies and human on-chip models for testing cancer drugs and therapies are becoming more and more attractive.

Our course will provide you with a solid foundation in how to successfully cultivate the most commonly used cells for these applications. It will prepare you for the practice when you are handling these cells in the laboratory and at the same time will help you to better understand the language/concepts used by cell culture technologists. The focus will be on Chinese hamster ovary cells - CHO cells for short, mesenchymal stem cells, and plant suspension cultures.


This course consists of six units: a general introduction, the actual four teaching blocks, and the final test. The following contents are covered:

  1. Course Organization and introduction
  2. Technical basics
  3. Bioreactor systems
  4. Common methods of oxygen supply
  5. Process modes
  6. Important transport phenomena
  7. Mammalian cell culture technology
  8. The mammalian cell
  9. Mammalian cell metabolism and culture media
  10. Main routine working
  11. Inoculum production
  12. Dominating production bioreactors
  13. Monoclonal antibody production
  14. Stem cell cultivation
  15. Introduction and stem cell basics
  16. Human mesenchymal stem cells
  17. hMSCs – Analytical methods
  18. In vitro expansion of hMSCs
  19. Plant cell culture technology
  20. Introduction to plant cells
  21. Plant cell media
  22. Cell and tissue culture types
  23. Routine working in the lab
  24. Cultivation systems
  25. Exam and evaluation

In the beginning, all organizational frameworks such as the evaluation are explained and participants can get in touch with each other via the forum.

In the 1st block "Technical basics", the technical fundamentals for the use of cell cultures in biotechnology are described. This section forms the foundation for the following blocks and will be taken up again in all subsequent units. Even if you are not a technophile, you should follow this section thoroughly, as many connections will only become apparent in the following units.

In the 2nd block, the cultivation of animal cell cultures is highlighted, with an emphasis on Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. These are the most used cells for the production of monoclonal antibodies and therefore of crucial importance in pharmaceutical biotechnology.

The 3rd block deals with stem cells, with the main focus on human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). This pioneering technology is the spotlight of research and will develop its full potential in the coming decades. Many working techniques from the 2nd Block can also be used here.

Block 4 will focus on plant cell cultures. Work in this field has been ongoing for a long time, but recent developments in cellular agriculture have brought a breath of fresh air. Although the basic reactor technology is similar to that of mammalian and stem cells, the working techniques used are very different from the previous blocks.

Taught by

Regine Eibl, Rüdiger Maschke, Valentin Jossen, Stefan Seidel and Cedric Schirmer


4.6 rating at edX based on 5 ratings

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