Off Campus, Into Industry

Penn State professor takes sabbatical at CSL Behring to gain biotech insight.

CSL Behring CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault (far right) at the June 8, 2018, opening of the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility on the campus of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa.
CSL Behring CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault (far right) at the June 8, 2018, opening of the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility on the campus of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa. (Photo courtesy of Penn State)

At Penn State, the newly-opened CSL Behring Fermentation Facility has brought the biotechnology industry to campus by offering students a chance to use the same leading-edge equipment found at top biotech manufacturing sites around the world. Now, the biotech leader is bringing Penn State faculty into the industry to see and learn firsthand how that same technology is applied to create lifesaving medicines.

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Beginning this month, Dr. Ali Demirci, the Professor-in-Charge of the facility, is spending six months at CSL Behring’s leading-edge manufacturing sites in Bern, Switzerland, and Marburg, Germany. During his sabbatical, sponsored by CSL Behring, he will learn the company’s manufacturing processes, observe research & development and work with CSL leadership to gain invaluable insight into the world of biotech.

As part of his role overseeing the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility, Dr. Demirci helps shape its curriculum and research. The goal of the sabbatical experience is to return to Penn State with insights that will assist him in developing biotech’s next generation.

“I’m very much looking forward to learning more about CSL Behring’s biotech expertise, and then sharing that knowledge with biotech leaders of tomorrow,” said Dr. Demirci.

Dr. Demirci’s experience at CSL Behring will be overseen by Jose Maldonado, Head of Global CapEx & MRO Sourcing, who calls the opportunity a chance “to share CSL Behring’s extensive biotech knowledge with Professor Demirci and support the creation of meaningful exciting educational curricula.”

Dr. Ali Demirci (right), Professor-in-Charge of the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility, with CSL Behring’s Head of Global CapEx & MRO Sourcing Jose Maldonado at the facility on the campus of Penn State University in University Park, Pa.
Dr. Ali Demirci (right), Professor-in-Charge of the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility, with CSL Behring’s Head of Global CapEx & MRO Sourcing Jose Maldonado at the facility on the campus of Penn State University in University Park, Pa.

The CSL Behring Fermentation Facility opened in June of last year. The facility is part of Penn State’s new Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology under the university’s Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. Both the Fermentation Facility and the Center of Excellence were made possible in-part through a nearly $5 million grant from CSL Behring. The grant is also being used to develop educational programs by the Center.