Graduate student receives poster award at biotechnology symposium


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Parinaz Emami, a doctoral degree candidate in chemical engineering, received the Best Poster Award at the Law, Policy and Engineering Biotechnology Symposium, held April 11, at the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building.

Emami’s poster was titled "Purification of Polysaccharide-Protein Conjugate Vaccines Using Ultrafiltration/Diafiltration Processes." The poster focused on her research on the purification of polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines, which are primarily used for the prevention of a variety of diseases caused by S. pneumoniae, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

Conjugated polysaccharides are carbohydrates whose molecules consist of sugar molecules bonded together. High contamination of conjugated polysaccharides during the purification portion of vaccine production results in significant product loss.

Vaccines are purified by running them through artificial membranes. In her research, Emami assessed key operating parameters affecting this process, including the effects of membrane chemistry, pore size and module type. She also explored the effects of different solution conditions, including ionic strength and pH, to identify filtration conditions that are least likely to cause vaccine contamination during the purification process.

The results of this work has potential for significant improvements in the vaccine purification process, and could result in lower cost immunization against S. pneumoniae and development of other novel disease treatment products.

Emami is advised by Andrew Zydney, Bayard D. Kunkle Chair and professor of chemical engineering.


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Megan Lakatos



The Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering, established in 1948, is recognized as one of the largest and most influential chemical engineering departments in the nation.

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