Cell Culture

5 ECTS / Semester / Português

Objectives and competences

  •  To learn the potential and limitations of cell culture, relating to science research (biology, medicine), production of cell mass and tissue, development of biomaterials, production of vaccines and production of proteins of therapeutic value.
  • To get acquainted with the interdependency between virology and cell culture
  • To learn the process of cell line establishment and subsequent applications from the laboratory scale to industrial scale.
  • To get familiar with laboratorial procedures in cell culture


Teaching Methodologies

This Unit comprises lectures, tutorials and lab sessions.
At the beginning the students are organised in groups and choose a topic of their interest relating to cell culture which reflect recent advancements in the area. The
topic is approved by the lecturer and every week the students present their progress, with an oral presentation at the end.

In the laboratory classes different cell lines are manipulated under different culture conditions. The cytotoxicity of different biomaterials is evaluated by the MTT
method. Different abiotic factors in cell viability over time are also assessed. At the end, the students present a written report on the work.
The Unit comprises a visit to a laboratory where they can see the application of cell culturing.




  • Origin of cell culture
  • Primary cell cultures, normal and continuous cell lines and clonal lines
  • Stem cells
  • Transformation/immortalisation of animal cells using virus
  • In vitro virus production using cell lines
  • Expression systems for production of recombinant proteins in animal cells.
  • Hybridomes and monoclonal antibodies
  • Cell cloning
  • Culture media
  • Monolayer and suspension cultures
  • Bioreactors for cell culture
  • Glycosilation in animal cells

The cell culture laboratory – main requirements
Tutorial sessions: Accompanying students on the analysis of a case study and its presentation
Study visit to Laboratory 3Bs – application of cell culture.

Handling of cell lines in a laboratory environment and the influence of different cultivation conditions on cell growth and viability. Determination of viability by the exclusion method (trypan blue) and MTT test for cytotoxity determination.


Full Professor
PhD in Biochemical Engineering from University College London (1994), she began her higher education at the Catholic University of Portugal, having graduated…
Assistant Professor
Freni K. Tavaria has a degree in Biology (Texas A&M University, USA) and a PhD in Food Science and Engineering (Escola Superior de Biotecnologia - ESB). She…