Sharif University of Technology Biochemical and Bioenvironmental Engineering Research Center

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Last Updated: August 1, 2008
Other Name: N/A
Location: Tehran, Iran
Subordinate To: Unknown
Size: The center's staff consists of six people with doctorates, six with masters degrees, 15 technicians and other part-time and full-time staff members with bachelors degrees. It has a budget of approximately $250,000/year.
Facility Status: Unknown

Founded in 1970-71, the Biochemical and Bioenvironmental Engineering Research Center of Sharif University was established to carry out biotechnology research. In 1995, the center started a Master's Program in Chemical Engineering in cooperation with the Chemical Engineering College at the Sharif University of Technology.

Three Main Functions

  1. The production of organic acids, amino acids, industrial enzymes, and single cell proteins in quantities ranging from lab to semi-industrial use
  2. Biotechnology research
  3. Graduate-level education in various areas of biotechnology

To date, 60 research projects have been completed and 25 are underway. Recent research projects include biological filtration of seawater and soil contaminated with petroleum, sewage treatment, drug addiction treatment, and prevention of bitterness in citrus fruit juices.

The center has trained a large number of people at the graduate level in the fields of biotechnology (biochemical engineering), chemical engineering, and bioenvironmental engineering. The center's research lab services are available to professors as well as graduate students working on theses. When needed, the center also provides scientific services to industry.

Currently, the 25 students enrolled in the Chemical Engineering Master's Program within the center are studying industrial microbiology and fermentation processes, the technology of enzymes, transformations in biological processes, the design of bioreactors, biological recovery and separation, and biological filtration of industrial sewage.

Although there is little evidence to link the center to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) research and development, many in the West suspect that biological warfare research is being carried out throughout Iran in laboratories associated with Iranian universities like this one. Middle East Defense News reports that Sharif University of Technology has been used as a front company to purchase the following equipment from the United States for its WMD programs: precision measuring instruments from Leybold Inficon Inc, radio spectrum analyzers from Kay Elemetrics Corp., VAX Computers from Digital Equipment Corp., and precision instruments for its nuclear engineering department from Canberra Industries, Inc.

The center cooperates closely with universities and research centers throughout the country, including Amir Kabir University, Tehran University's Technical College and College of Sciences, the National Center for Genetic Research, the Pasteur Institute, and the Razi Institute for Serums and Vaccines.

[1] "Familiarity with Main Centers of Biotechnology in Iran: Sharif University of Technology-Biochemical and Bioenvironmental Engineering Center," Ettela'at-e Elmi (Tehran), 21 April 2001 in "Iran: Summary of Biochemical and Bioenvironmental Engineering Research Center," FBIS Document IAP200106180000093, 21 April 2001.
[2] United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, International Trade and Industry Division, "Directory of Biotechnology Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ST/ESCAP/1613),"
[3] "Iranian Procurement Fronts," Middle East Defense News (Mednews), vol. 5, no. 17-18, 8 June 992.
[4] "Iranian Biotechnology Gets Foreign Assistance," Iran Report, vol. 4, no. 29, 6 August 2001.

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