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Under the Microscope: Dominic Androga, Director of Bioprocess Development

As the leader of our Process Development Team, Dominic oversees the strain optimization and fermentation scale-up process. Since joining our team in 2015, he has also played a vital role in our expansion project to increase manufacturing capacity.

1. What drew you to Microbial Discovery Group?

I’ve always been fascinated by the synergy between biology and engineering. While in college, I worked on various projects that involved use of microorganisms to make products for different applications – as feed source and for energy production. These experiences inspired me to follow this path professionally. MDG’s mission to “Feed, Clean and Save” the world greatly aligns with my personal and professional interests. All in all, it was the opportunity to research, develop, and apply products that make an impact on people’s lives that ultimately drew me to MDG.

2. What does your typical day look like?

My day varies quite a bit. I work closely with teams from Process Development, Production, QC, and R&D to monitor day-to-day processes and activities in the lab as well as on the production floor. On a typical day, we may have meetings to review results from recent batch runs where we troubleshoot and determine cause and corrective actions. Other days I’m meeting with contractors and vendors to discuss repairs along with equipment and technologies that would improve MDG’s manufacturing processes.

3. What are you working on right now?

As part of the Process Development (PD) team, we are continuously looking to improve the overall production process. At present, my main focus is on:

  • Strain Optimization – we have several strains being optimized to increase fermentation yields and downstream processing efficiencies. Studies include media selection and evaluating growth conditions and scale up.
  • Expansion Project – working closely with vendors and contractors to make preparations to install ‘Voyageur’, our newest fermentation vessel.

 4. What is the most inspiring part of your job?

Knowing that all processes, products and services we provide go towards making a difference in people’s everyday lives.

5. What do you like to do when you’re not at the office?

I enjoy being active! During my spare time I play soccer, bike and explore new places.

6. Professional goal for the next 5 years?

I want to continue to learn, implement process technologies that will increase yields and improve performance, help my team grow, and expand on MDG’s products, capabilities and growth – all while continuing to create value for our partners.

7. Let’s talk about MDG and some of the improvements made to our fermentation capabilities…

In order to support future sales projections and better meet the needs of our clients and partners, we developed a plan to increase our manufacturing capacity. This project included expanding the facility in Franklin, WI by moving our blending, packaging, and shipping to our new Oak Creek, WI facility; relocating old equipment and installing them alongside new equipment in the newly created central utility areas; increasing plant utility capacity by adding an additional chiller, boiler, and air compressor to support the combined utility loads; and adding two new 10,000L bioreactor vessels to increase fermentation capacity. Overall the expansion project will increase plant utility capacity by 240%, fermentation capacity 5X, and provide redundancy for critical process systems.

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