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  • Writer's pictureAntleron NV

Britt Van Ballaer develops bioreactor systems in support of scalable bioprocesses and next generation therapies

Britt Van Ballaer started at Antleron in 2021. “Experimental work at the intersection of clinical and therapeutic research attracted me to join Antleron,” says Britt Van Ballaer, ATMP Research & Development Architect. “Developing environments that are customized to the requirements of cells is essential for developing effective and affordable (personalized) therapy manufacturing processes. We set up experiments, analyze measurements, and use the insights in an innovative way to develop data-driven bioprocess concepts that excel in robustness, sustainability, and scalability.”

After obtaining a professional bachelor's degree, Britt decided to study a master's degree in biochemistry at KU Leuven, with a focus on cell therapy and molecular physiology. Following her graduation, she was looking for positions at the interface of research and clinical translation of advanced therapies. 


“When I started at Antleron, I immediately felt part of the team. The biolab is my habitat at the company, where we delve deeper into how the performance of cell cultures is influenced by customized bioreactor conditions. Aspects such as flow characteristics of medium, the biocompatibility of materials, and fixed bed properties used in bioreactor systems are critical to each bioprocess. I especially like the combination of hands-on lab work with innovative experimental design and the complementarity between biotech and engineering sciences." 


The bio-experiments we design and conduct provide enormous amounts of measurement data, which we analyze in detail to capture valuable insights. Our innovative data processing efforts are fed into our digital twins, which help us reduce experimental effort and gain better and faster bioprocess understanding. The multidisciplinary interaction at Antleron is essential for the gradual development of high-quality bioprocess concepts that are digitally tunable and economically viable.” 


In concrete terms, Britt is involved in various research and development projects with academic and biotech company partners. “For one project, I am experimenting with custom bioreactors that are based on our proprietary 3D-printed fixed-beds that mycolleagues engineered. We analyze soft sensor and digital twin outputs, medium flow characteristics and biological results to further optimize the bioreactor to the biological requirements.” Britt also highlights the importance of considering process scalability to ensure it will meet clinical and future commercial demand once a therapy enters clinical trials or is approved. “It is encouraging for me to be involved in lab experiments, data processing and operational meetings, giving me a complete overview of Antleron’s mission and activities.” 


“At Antleron I was warmly welcomed by the talented, multidisciplinary team. I like the spirit of learning from each other, regardless of experience level. I feel like my opinions and insights matter and are considered. I appreciate working in the flat company structure with collaborative teams. The daily interactions with my biolab colleagues are inspiring, and together we learn a lot from Anaïs, who shares a lot of her scientific experience and knowledge with us.” 


“Already in my youth I developed an interest in science in general and biology in particular. I had dreamed of working in the medical research field. Looking back, I am happy with the path I have taken so far. It is great to be part of the Antleron team. It is a young, ambitious group that is eager to learn and contribute to a sustainable and personalized healthcare.”  


In her spare time, Britt listens to podcasts and watches a lot of scientific documentaries. She also likes fantasy books and films, and various sports such as wall climbing and fitness. “My travel plans are usually focused on nature reserves. I dream of traveling to Greenland and New Zealand one day,” she concludes. 


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