Using Aspen to Teach Chromatographic Bioprocessing: A Case Study in Weak Partitioning Chromatography for Biotechnology Applications


  • Steven T. Evans Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Xinqun Huang Covidien
  • Steven M. Cramer Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


The commercial simulator Aspen Chromatography was employed to study and optimize an important new industrial separation process, weak partitioning chromatography. This case study on antibody purification was implemented in a chromatographic separations course. Parametric simulations were performed to investigate the effect of operating parameters (e.g., feed load, salt concentration) on the productivity and yield of this separation process. The course project served to teach students basic simulator operation, apply course material to a separation challenge from the biotechnology industry, and open-ended problem exploration for process optimization.

Author Biographies

Steven T. Evans, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Steven Evans received his chemical engineering and chemistry B.S. degrees from the University of California, Irvine, his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in chemical engineering, and completed his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He joined MedImmune in Gaithersburg, MD, as process biochemistry scientist in the summer of 2009.

Xinqun Huang, Covidien

Xinqun Huang received his B.S. and M.S. from East China University of Science and Technology in chemical engineering and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is currently a process engineer at Covidien in St. Louis, MO.

Steven M. Cramer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Steven Cramer received his B.S. from Brown University in biomedical engineering and his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Yale University. He is currently the William Weightman Walker Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In addition to regularly teaching undergraduate and graduate Separations and Bioseparations courses he is also the editor of the journal Separation Science and Technology. His research interests include: design of chemically selective displacers for protein purification; multi-scale modeling of complex chromatographic behavior; molecular modeling of selectivity and affinity in mixed model chromatographic systems; spectroscopic/chromatographic investigation of protein-surface interactions; chromatography on a chip; novel separation systems for proteomics; high-throughput screening for bioprocess development; and chemometrics for process analytical technology.