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For further information on graduate study in GRADUATE STUDY AT UCL 1
Biochemical Engineering:
General enquiries: Graduate Admissions Secretary
MSc programmes: Dr Daniel Bracewell MPhil/PhD 4
EngD 4
MPhil, PhD and EngD programmes: Professor Nigel Research areas 5
Titchener-Hooker EMAIL Selected references 8
Part-time MBI® training programmes: Dr Karen Smith
Taught MSc degree programmes 10
Department of Biochemical Engineering
Postgraduate diploma programmes 11
University College London
Biochemical Engineering MSc – for graduate scientists 13
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT Biochemical Engineering MSc – for graduate engineers 13


TEL +44 (0)20 7679 7013
Academic staff and their areas of research 15
FAX +44 (0)20 7209 0709

Planning your career 16
To obtain a UCL Graduate Application Pack:
UCL Study Information Centre Career profiles of some former graduate students 16
University College London International students 18
Gower Street How to apply 18
London WC1E 6BT Fees and funding 19

TEL +44 (0)20 7679 3000
FAX +44 (0)20 7679 3001

For specific advice if you are an international student:

UCL International Office
University College London
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT

TEL +44 (0)20 7679 7765
FAX +44 (0)20 7679 3001

To enquire about accommodation:

UCL Student Residences
University College London
117 Gower Street
London WC1E 6AP

TEL +44 (0)20 7679 6322
FAX +44 (0)20 7383 0407 | 1


UCL provides an outstanding and distinctive • The UCL Careers Service organises numerous events
environment for graduate study. Guided by specifically for graduate students, including employer forums,
networking events and employability skill-development
principles of excellence and innovation, UCL
workshops. Access to the careers library and vacancy
offers a range of programmes, resources and information, together with personal consultations, are
opportunities intended to help you make the also available.
most of your graduate study and to achieve • A wealth of services and advisers provide both academic and
your aspirations. pastoral support. In addition to your own supervisor or tutor,
these include: the Dean of Students; a Health Centre; a
Disability Centre; a Counselling Service, the Rights and Advice
UCL’s distinguishing features Centre and a Day Nursery.
• Research-led learning in which ground-breaking research at • Sporting and recreational interests are well catered for, with
UCL informs the teaching and supervision of graduate both a fitness centre and theatre on the main campus. In
students, providing opportunities to undertake or participate in addition, the UCL Students’ Union runs many clubs and
such research. societies as well as providing cafés, shops and social spaces
• Exceptional research quality, with 85% of UCL’s departments located across UCL’s premises.
being awarded top ratings of 5 or 5* indicating research of
international importance in the most recent (2001) UK Research UCL’s profile
Assessment Exercise.
• Founded in 1826. The first university in England to admit
• A global outlook which extends beyond welcoming over 6,600
students irrespective of race, class or religion, and the first to
students from outside the UK to prepare all our students to live
admit women on equal terms with men.
and work in the global community. An international perspective is
• 20,170 students, of whom 8,000 are graduate students.
embedded in teaching and research at UCL, and co-operative
• 6,600 students from outside the UK.
links are fostered with governmental, educational, industrial and
• An overall staff to student ratio of 1:9 enabling a continued
corporate organisations around the world.
emphasis on small-group and one-to-one teaching.
• A welcoming, dynamic community in which collaboration and
• Currently ranked seventh in the Times Higher Education – QS
crossdisciplinarity are promoted, and diversity is celebrated.
Top 200 Universities list (2008).

UCL’s resources and support services UCL in London

• The UCL Graduate School is dedicated to ensuring you are
London affords an enormous range of academic, cultural and
provided with high standards of teaching, supervision and
leisure opportunities. UCL is located in the Bloomsbury area of
support. It directs the provision of services and facilities for
central London, famous for its intellectual and academic traditions.
graduate students including: the Skills Development Programme;
For those facilities not within walking distance of UCL, excellent
the Research Student Log; codes of good practice; research
transport links give access to resources across the capital.
scholarships and funds; opportunities to present and display
work in graduate competitions; social and networking events for • Internationally renowned establishments, such as the British
graduate students and dedicated graduate computer and Library, British Museum, Natural History Museum, Science
common room areas. Museum, National and Tate Galleries and National Archives,
• The UCL Library provides a high-quality, integrated and together with innumerable specialist organisations, provide a
innovative service, with support to help you access both printed wealth of materials to support original research.
and electronic resources. • Many professional institutions and bodies are located in London.
• Information technology facilities are provided in departments, This can enable UCL students, where applicable, to access
workrooms, residences and through a wireless network across specialist resources, and attend lectures, conferences and
many parts of the main campus. networking events.
• The UCL Language Centre supports language learning both • Theatres, cinemas and music venues abound in London,
for academic and personal interest. In addition to foreign catering for every taste. Sporting facilities, for those who enjoy
languages, the centre also offers English language courses for participating or spectating, are plentiful. There is a huge array of
international students. shops, restaurants and parks to enjoy. Numerous festivals and
• UCL’s own museums and collections form a resource of events celebrate the city’s diverse and vibrant community.
international importance for academic research. They span art,
archaeology, zoology, geology, science and ethnography.
2 |

Biochemical Engineering at UCL
Biochemical Engineering at UCL is an interdisciplinary subject
which has as its primary focus the fundamental issues that
underpin the translation of biological discoveries, such as new
kinds of advanced medicines, into practical outcomes. In this way
biochemical engineers can contribute immensely to improving the
quality of life. In the next decade and beyond, the contributions of
biochemical engineers to the national and international community
will be vital not only in the area of new medicines but also for
more nutritious foods, novel materials from renewable sources
and improved approaches to reducing and dealing with
environmental pollution.

The Department of Biochemical Engineering at UCL is the largest

university department of its kind in the UK; its graduate degree
programmes lead to qualifications which are internationally
recognised. Taught Master’s programmes and research study
programmes in the department draw on knowledge and methods
derived from a range of disciplines, including biochemistry,
microbiology and molecular biology as well as the core discipline
of biochemical engineering in which the foundation subjects are
applied and integrated.

There are close teaching and research links with scientists and
engineers working in other departments and centres at UCL,
including Structural and Molecular Biology, Computer Science, the
Institute of Ophthalmology, Physiology, the Royal Free Hospital Graduate students entering the Advanced Centre for
Oncology Dept, UCLH Haematology, Mechanical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering
Chemical Engineering and the London Centre for Nanotechnology,
Professor and Head of Department. He worked with Ernest
together with experts from other departments throughout the UK
Baldwin, Head of Biochemistry, to establish a joint Diploma, later a
and overseas. A collaboration with the London Business School in
Master’s programme, in Biochemical Engineering at UCL. Donald
the establishment of a Science Enterprise Centre now allows the
also worked closely with visionary biologists Eric Crook and Pat
integration of technical and business skills at all levels. Links with
Clark at UCL to scale up new biological discoveries. Crook and
industry are exceptionally close, with leading industrialists
Donald helped launch Biotechnology and Bioengineering, the
contributing to teaching and research programmes.
subject’s first journal, in 1959, and a UCL staff member, Fife
These interactions with a range of disciplines and companies help Webb, wrote one of the field’s first monographs.
to create a vibrant department at the forefront of the field, and
Malcolm Lilly, a student of Professor Clark, and Peter Dunnill, a
create an exciting environment for graduate training and research.
student of Sir Lawrence Bragg (the father of molecular biology
Various independent assessments have confirmed the excellence
and hence of modern biotechnology) joined the department in the
and breadth of the department’s taught programmes (IChemE
1960s. At UCL, Lilly and Dunnill combined their interests and
Accreditation Exercise) and placed the research programmes at
worked closely to isolate large quantities of commercially
the forefront of international endeavours (Research Assessment
unavailable enzymes. An early outcome of their pioneering
Exercise 5* rating).
research, that shaped the future of biochemical engineering, was
History of the department their work on penicillin acylase and its use for the production of
In the 1930s Jack Drummond, the first UCL Professor of the first semi-synthetic penicillins. Twenty years later Malcolm Lilly
Biochemistry, succeeded in isolating pure vitamin A. To do this and Peter Dunnill became the first Professors of Biochemical
however, he needed large quantities of fish liver oils and later, Engineering in the UK.
wheat germ. Drummond was helped by Maxwell Donald, a young
In 1991 UCL was chosen as the UK’s Interdisciplinary Research
process engineer and lecturer in Chemical Engineering at UCL.
Centre (IRC) for Biochemical Engineering. This interdisciplinary
So began the linkage of departments that created the Department
role has been maintained with the creation of the Advanced
of Biochemical Engineering. By the 1950s, Donald was a | 3

the department to run the highly successful Modular Training for

the Bioprocess Industries (MBI®) programme (over 1,000 modules
have been taught to date, 700 international delegates have
attended and 200 companies have participated). The MBI®
modules are timed to dovetail with the MSc timetable and
attendance at modules is a requirement for doctoral students.

Research and training facilities

The department is one of the largest global providers of training
for the bioprocessing industry; it has one of the most modern
biochemical engineering teaching facilities in the world.
Constructed and first equipped in 1992 at a cost of approximately
£20 million, the facility is able to attract leading industrial
collaborators for the department’s research and training
programmes. The department’s training facilities comprise superb
pilot plant and instrument resources for scale-up studies of
genetically engineered material. The facilities include a range of
mechanically agitated fermenters up to 450 litre scale, linked via
mass spectrometers and other instruments to a computer suite.
These bioreactors are matched by a range of state-of-the-art,
pilot-scale downstream processing equipment and analytical
instruments which allow the staff in the department to provide
training in the bioprocessing of genetically engineered materials.

A further investment of £4 million was made in 2002 to establish

the world’s first Centre for Micro Biochemical Engineering. This is
A robotic liquid handling system in action within the Centre equipped with the latest automated robotic systems to enable
for Micro Biochemical Engineering more rapid process discovery and now allows process studies to
be interfaced with the emerging fields of genomics and
Centre for Biochemical Engineering (ACBE). The establishment of
proteomics. Another £1 million investment has been made in the
the IRC and ACBE allowed the department to plan a unique set of
construction of a Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing Unit for
pilot-scale capabilities embracing the ‘whole bioprocess’ concept
new research on human cell therapy products.
with the B3 containment needed to allow the full range of
‘genetically engineered’ materials to be safely studied at scale. In Funding
2002 UCL was selected as the UK’s Innovative Manufacturing Details of sources of financial support for both UK/EU and
Research Centre (IMRC) for the bioprocessing industries which is overseas students are given on the internet at
now pioneering ultra-scale down techniques to speed the Details of tuition
development of more cost-effective routes to new medicines. The fees and estimated maintenance costs are given in UCL’s
‘whole bioprocess’ approach represents the central theme of Graduate Prospectus and fees may also be found at
biochemical engineering at UCL within which all the teaching and
training programmes are provided. As the central research theme
Typically 20-25 awards are made each year for graduate studies
of the department has developed, the study of whole
at PhD/EngD or MSc level. Graduates with undergraduate or
bioprocesses has expanded to embrace related ‘business
Master’s degrees in a wide range of science and engineering
processes’ in collaboration with the London Business School.
disciplines are eligible for such awards. The department is a
These include issues of validation and regulatory requirements
major recipient of funding for graduate training from the
and also entrepreneurial activities which underpin the
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
establishment of small, high-tech venture companies.
(EPSRC), and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences
UCL pioneered biochemical engineering education in the UK and Research Council (BBSRC).
has provided the process industries with first-class future leaders.
The department has a unique national and international network
of industrial contacts and alumni which help it to maintain its
position in the forefront of education and research. This enables
4 |

The focus of research is the study of the whole
bioprocess and the interaction between new
biological discoveries and the novel engineering
required for the formation, recovery, purification
and formulation of biomaterials. Targets include
‘small’ and macro-molecules. Both are
progressing to greater complexity; for example,
metabolically engineered antibiotics and chiral Nina Remtullah
drug intermediates, antibody fragments, plasmid Biochemical Engineering PhD

genes and cellular therapies are the subject of I chose UCL because it has an excellent reputation for research in my
field. I also felt that the programme offered the opportunity to develop not
current studies.
only my educational but my interpersonal skills.

MPhil/PhD With large amounts of contact with industry you get to work with the best
people in the field. In my spare time, I am the president of the Beaker
The department offers a range of research degree opportunities; Society, the biochemical engineering postgraduate society. We are
many supported by BBSRC awards, and by industrial sponsors. responsible for organising group activities for approximately 100 staff and
Typically eight to ten new PhD positions are offered each year. graduate students, including talks from visiting industrialists and
academics, as well as co-ordinating social events with undergraduates.
The projects draw upon the expertise within the department and
the multidisciplinary research linkages of the Advanced Centre
for Biochemical Engineering. Many of the PhD projects are
collaborative with leading bioindustry companies. These
All MPhil/PhD research students are normally registered for the
external links, and close involvement with the Centre’s research
MPhil degree in the first instance, and, assuming that their work is
team, provide the foundation for producing much sought after
satisfactory, will usually expect to transfer to PhD registration
doctoral graduates.
within 18 months of their arrival. All EngD students register for this
EngD programme at the outset, but progress is monitored at
The department has been selected as the recipient of an annual annual intervals.
EPSRC-supported allocation of ten Bioprocess Leadership On entering the department every student is assigned a main
Engineering Doctorates. Each EngD programme is of four supervisor, who is responsible for giving guidance and advice on
calendar years’ duration; with up to half of the time spent with the all aspects of the student’s academic work throughout the period
host company which also sponsors the researcher. This gives the of registration. To ensure that students benefit from as much
researchers unprecedented opportunities to explore novel science intellectual stimulus as possible, a second staff member (who may
and engineering in a process and business context relevant to be from a collaborating department) is assigned to act as an
future leadership roles in the bioindustry. Given the levels of adviser, with whom the student can discuss any aspect of his/her
company sponsorship negotiated by the department the stipends activities. For researchers collaborating with industry, an industrial
received by the EngD researchers are, in many cases, equivalent supervisor will also be appointed. Students are expected to meet
to graduate starting salaries in industry. their supervisors regularly. Initially this will probably mean every
Entry requirements week, but once a pattern of work and co-operation has been
Graduates with at least an upper second-class Honours degree or developed meetings may be less or more frequent. The
a graduate Master’s qualification in a suitable science or department’s policy on maintaining the quality of its teaching and
engineering discipline are eligible to apply. Candidates offering training requires the students to record the minutes of all such
relevant industrial experience in addition to, or partly in place of, meetings in their Graduate School E-log, including actions
academic qualifications are also welcome to apply. expected from the research team members.

The Graduate School arranges a skills and development

Length of programme
programme for all incoming research students which links into the
The normal length of both the MPhil and PhD programmes
department’s formal training programme for graduate researchers.
is three years full-time. The EngD programme is of four
years’ duration. In addition to the facilities described earlier, research students
are offered shared office accommodation with access to
The research programmes normally begin in late September.
computer terminals, and, where applicable, a PC for the duration
Candidates wishing to start at a different date should contact the
of their study.
Admissions Tutor before applying. | 5

As part of their training, students have the opportunity to present

their research plans to staff and students for feedback and
comment. There are weekly research seminars given by staff
and research students, and visiting speakers from the UK and
abroad deliver ‘Bioprocess Briefings’, which all graduates are
expected to attend.

All research degrees are examined by thesis and viva voce
examination. In the case of the EngD successful completion of all Pilot scale centrifugation experimentation for validation of
taught elements of the degree is also necessary. scale down studies

Research areas in this field is being enhanced by a major programme involving a

Biochemical engineering is at the heart of an immensely exciting group of leading companies.
revolution. Compared with older techniques of improving the This ultra-scale down research represents a new paradigm for the
performance of biological systems by mutation, new approaches creation of bioprocesses. Macromolecule studies are led by Mike
are able to achieve exquisite precision. For the world to gain in Hoare and Daniel Bracewell, (e.g. Hutchinson et al. 2006). We
terms of health and wealth these discoveries must be harnessed. have also examined the more complex small molecules required to
Laying foundations for this demands biochemical engineering enhance drug selectivity, led by Gary Lye (Micheletti and Lye,
research which is as radical as the new biology and with which it 2006). Small mimics of individual operations can quickly provide
must be fully integrated. Our research is described under five information to be used in models of the full-scale process (e.g.
convenient headings though in practice there is a great deal of Berrill et al. 2008). By also simulating the interactions between
interaction between them. operations Yuhong Zhou and Nigel Titchener-Hooker have
established a portfolio of models for whole bioprocesses, (e.g.
Achieving speed from discovery to benefit
Zhou and Titchener-Hooker 1999). The success of the methods in
At present it typically takes ten years to bring one potential major
several exemplars has been confirmed by large-scale studies, for
medicine from discovery to patient. Both patients and companies
which UCL is uniquely equipped with its £20 million pilot plant
need faster routes and we are addressing a central aspect of
facility. Research on individual bioprocess operations will remain
achieving greater speed. Because so many new candidate
vital and we are pursuing new approaches such as the use of
medicines fail during trials of effectiveness and safety it has
continuous countercurrent chromatography for purification of large
always been necessary to delay studies of large-scale production
macromolecules (e.g. Kendall et al. 2001).
until a late stage of development. As medicines become more
complex in order to address the need for greater selectivity, such For biocatalytic processes to synthesise small molecules we have
large-scale trials are coming under severe time pressures and created conceptual frameworks for systematically choosing the
increasingly failing to yield efficient processes. This is especially most appropriate bioreactor conditions (Burton et al. 2002) and
true for recombinant human proteins and other complex have described methods of graphical representations which
biopharmaceuticals and for a new generation of more complicated simplify the interpretation of this information (Woodley and
small molecule pharmaceuticals. The UCL team has focused on Titchener-Hooker 1996). For small molecules our ‘whole
solutions to this key challenge. bioprocess’ approach includes integration with chemistry through
collaboration with colleagues in the UCL Chemistry Department
Over the last ten years we have pioneered a ‘whole bioprocess’
and the Bioconversion-Chemistry-Engineering Interface
approach to show how fermentation, bioconversion and
Programme (BiCE).
downstream processing must be integrated. For the complex new
materials that life science discoveries are bringing forward, it is A new £4 million Centre for Micro Biochemical Engineering is now
necessary in the final analysis to conduct large-scale studies providing a resource for this work and particularly for the
across this whole bioprocess. However, that is expensive and time automation of the small mimic studies using microwell robotics.
consuming both for academic researchers and for industry. We Research on biocatalysis (Lye et al. 2003), fermentation and
need to minimise and focus such activity. By creating exceptionally downstream processing (Titchener-Hooker et al. 2008) is
small mimics of large-scale whole bioprocesses and combining underway. Current use of microwells for research entails simply
these with detailed models for each interactive element of the the addition of one fluid to another, followed by analysis. The use
process it is now proving possible to make good predictions of full of this approach for process studies demands a detailed analysis
scale performance (Titchener-Hooker et al. 2008). Future research of the engineering transport processes within the wells (Doig et al.
2005). This research involves Gary Lye, Martina Micheletti (e.g.
6 |

Micheletti et al. 2006) and Frank Baganz. In one example Frank

Baganz led research to develop miniature scale processing
approaches to the culture of microbial and mammalian cells in
suspension cultures that have the potential for automation (Betts
and Baganz 2006). This research also demonstrated the feasibility
of predictive scale up from micro/mini reactors to lab scale
reactors using established methods (e.g. Betts et al. 2006). An
extension of this thinking is to use microfluidic systems to
potentially further this area; this research is led by Nicolas Szita
(Szita et al. 2006), who collaborates with the London Centre for
Nanotechnology in this area.

The data obtained from these approaches is available in the form

of computer-captured information and the experiments are
susceptible to sophisticated experimental design. The large
amount of data means that techniques such as principal
component analysis will be vital (Edwards-Parton et al. 2008).
Such analyses will further extend the capacity to organise, control
and simulate cellular and macro processes. The robotic microwell
systems also represent a powerful interface to genomic and
proteomic research.

Research related to achieving greater speed from discovery to

outcome is enhanced by studies of the fast monitoring of
bioprocesses. For small molecules, the techniques of multi-
parameter flow cytometry using fluorescent probes are used to
study substrate and product toxicity to biocatalysts (Ammanullah et
al. 2003). For macromolecules the use of an optical biosensor has allowing the assessment of the controlling factors within cells and
been explored in detail for the first time in bioprocessing (e.g. by defining how these may be altered by molecular genetics.
Bracewell et al. 2004) together with infrared spectroscopy (e.g.
UCL was the first UK centre to address metabolic engineering at
Yeung et al. 1999). Methods to rapidly assess macromolecule
both the discovery and process levels. The UCL team has
stability in order to determine “processability” and conditions for
addressed an 11-membered pathway transposed from a
formulation (e.g. Aucamp et al. 2005) are also active areas of
Pseudomonad to E.coli (e.g. Sheridan et al. 1998). We are now
research which relate to this topic.
collaborating with industry on an in silico analysis of E.coli
Harnessing genomics metabolic pathways and on experimental tests of the predictions.
The sequencing of the human genome, and just as importantly of UCL biochemical engineers work on this project with John
a number of key human pathogens, is a great achievement. Now Ward of the UCL Research Department of Structural and
the value of this information must be matched by biochemical Molecular Biology. To an even greater extent than basic
engineering advances to yield outcomes for healthcare and genomics, metabolic engineering rests on a bioinformatics
wealth creation. approach and Yuhong Zhou addresses this aspect. Yuhong
Zhou’s research is complemented by that of Frank Baganz, an
Many small molecule pharmaceuticals are chemically synthesised.
experienced engineer. He is interested in the engineering of
To reduce side-effects these molecules are becoming increasingly
metabolic pathways and biocatalytic processes and its linkage to
complex, commonly involving several chiral centres. Enzymes can
modelling (Chen et al. 2007).
be highly efficient for synthesis but are not always sufficiently
robust or capable of working in the solvents needed to dissolve In addition to targeted manipulation of metabolic pathways the
intermediates. The techniques of directed molecular evolution are capacity to achieve directed evolution offers new opportunities.
now capable of generating designed enzymes. In addition, the This can be applied to whole cells, as in metabolic engineering, or
pathways of enzymes in biological cells represent a foundation for to individual molecules, particularly to proteins and enzymes. For
highly selective multi-step synthesis. However, until recently it has example, the properties of therapeutic antibodies can be evolved
not been possible to control the action of sets of enzymes. The to yield higher binding efficiencies and to produce characteristics
development of metabolic engineering addresses this issue by which allow them to be processed more easily. The evolution of
better enzyme catalysts will also be invaluable in reducing the cost | 7

of synthesis of the increasingly complex small-molecule successful candidates with whom to work. One approach we are
medicines. Staff member Paul Dalby addresses biocatalyst exploring which could ease the cost problem is the application of
evolution with company collaborators. His work is linked to that of process scale disposable equipment. Use of such items could cut
those pursuing enhanced industrial biocatalysis (e.g. Hibbert et al. the high capital costs of stainless steel systems and also remove
2007), which include Gary Lye, Frank Baganz, Helen Hailes the expenditure on re-validating the cleaning of contact surfaces.
(Chemistry) and John Ward (Structural and Molecular Biology) The design and operation of disposable systems differs from that
within the framework of the Bioconversion-Chemistry-Engineering of conventional ones and raises fundamental engineering research
Interface Programme (BiCE). issues. The approach led by Mike Hoare and Nigel Titchener-
Hooker with Suzanne Farid (e.g. Novais et al. 2001; Farid et al.
In parallel, the potential of proteomics to enhance bioprocessing
2005) will be even more important as more personalised
by defining the optimum conditions for expression of human
medicines become common in an effort to match treatment to
recombinant proteins is being explored by Eli Keshavarz-Moore,
individual human genomes.
John Ward, Yuhong Zhou and Frank Baganz. They are analysing
the impact of growth conditions and nutrients on the levels of host Studies with colleagues at Newcastle University are examining the
protein versus human target proteins and applying metabolic latest generation of software approaches for the rapid design and
engineering to ease product purification. Such developments will optimisation of manufacturing capacity. Led by Nigel Titchener-
be important for future process design and manufacturing to Hooker, this will bring together expertise in ultra scale-down,
achieve greater speed and cost reduction. They are also valuable modelling and advanced multi-objective optimisation.
for discovery research where quantities of hundreds of milligrams
Addressing a new generation of complex materials
of human proteins must be quickly produced.
Many present-day medicines often have serious side effects.
Making the outcome affordable Indeed such effects are the fourth largest cause of death in
Because it costs over £1/2 billion to develop a new medicine, the developed countries. To achieve greater selectivity in medicines is
price to the patient directly or via taxes will inherently be very high. generally demanding greater complexity. For macromolecules,
As new generations of medicines are becoming more complex (in such structural intricacy is inherent but, even here, progression
order to achieve greater selectivity) this cost is set to rise further from small proteins to ever more complex large ones, as well as to
unless a new manufacturing paradigm can be found. Already a genes and artificial chromosomes is happening. In parallel, human
therapeutic protein treatment for multiple sclerosis has put a strain cells and tissues are being prepared for therapy.
on healthcare budgets. A promising antibody treatment for
Our research on plasmid DNA processing for non-viral gene
arthritis, a much more widespread condition, will present a greater
therapy and vaccines involves particularly Peter Dunnill, Eli
dilemma. To define ways in which cost can be greatly reduced is
Keshavarz-Moore, Tarit Mukhopadhyay and Gary Lye. It entails
as critical as the discovery of new medicines.
studies at each step of the whole bioprocess (see Levy et al.
Whereas the analysis of costs is well-established in traditional 2000) including cell/plasmid engineering (Cooke et al. 2004). Work
industries it has not been the subject of detailed study in the new on plasmid formulation is also crucial for effective delivery with
industries based on the use of molecular genetics. At UCL we are gene therapy and DNA vaccines (e.g. Lee et al. 2001). The
conducting analyses of costs linked to the bioprocess research plasmid research is done in collaboration with John Ward
described above. We also have a research programme with a (Structural and Molecular Biology, UCL), Steven Hart (Institute of
group of companies which is creating computer-based decisional Child Health, UCL) and Helen Hailes and Alethea Tabor
tools. When a pharmaceutical company discovers several potential (Chemistry, UCL) (Mukhopadhyay et al. 2005). Other projects
new medicines it faces very difficult decisions in prioritising how to which address complex macromolecules include: vaccines and
develop them. It may not have the capacity to take them all antibodies from transgenic plants (Hassan et al. 2008) (Eli
forward in-house and must decide which to pursue and which to Keshavarz Moore); therapeutic proteins from transgenic animals
license out. Companies constantly reassess their process (Pampel et al. 2007); and antibodies from immunised sheep
development and business priorities in the light of clinical data and (Thillaivinayagalingam et al. 2007).
global competition. Our computer-based tools are designed to help
Stem cells have generated much excitement as they represent an
them make more systematic decisions embracing the process
unlimited supply of functional cells for the treatment of
dimension. The research is led by Suzanne Farid (e.g. George et
degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes. Making
al. 2007).
these treatments a reality will require Biochemical Engineering
One of the challenges to start-ups is that it is very hard for them approaches to ensure the consistency, functionality and safety of
to commit funds to capital installation to produce material for large- cellular therapies prior to their transplantation. Our research, led
scale clinical trials. The uncertainty of clinical outcome means that by Chris Mason and Farlan Veraitch, focuses on how the
expensive facilities may be constructed only to find a lack of engineering environment affects the quality of cells from their
8 |

Selected references
Ammannullah, A., Hewitt, C.J., Nienow, A.W., Lee, C., Chartrain,
M., Buckland, B.C., Drew, S.W. and Woodley, J.M. (2003).
‘Measurement of straw-dependant toxicity in the indene
bioconversion using multiparameter flow cytometry’. Biotechnol.
Bioeng., 81: 405-420.

Aucamp. J.P., Cosme, A.A., Lye, G.J. and Dalby, P.A. (2005). ‘High-
throughput measurement of protein stability in microtitre plates’.
Preparation of stem cells for regenerative medicine Biotechnol. Bioeng., 89: 599-607.
bioprocessing studies
Berrill, A., Ho, S.V., Bracewell, D.G. (2008). ‘Ultra scale-down to
initial derivation through to their expansion, differentiation, define and improve the relationship between flocculation and disc-
purification and implantation (Veraitch et al. 2008). Through stack centrifugation.’ Biotechnol. Prog., 24: 426-431.
collaboration with the UK's foremost stem cell scientists, such as Betts, J.I. and Baganz, F. (2006). ‘Miniature bioreactors: current
Peter Andrews and Peter Braude, and clinicians attempting to practices and future opportunities’. Microbial Cell Factories, 5: 21.
translate stem cell discoveries into routine clinical practice we are
Betts, J.I., Doig, S.D. and Baganz, F. (2006). ‘Characterization and
laying the bioprocess foundations for the delivery of cost effective
application of a miniature 10mL stirred-tank bioreactor, showing
safe cellular therapies. There are important links between protein,
scale-down equivalence with a conventional 7 L reactor’.
gene and mammalian or human cell studies. We are, for example,
Biotechnol. Prog., 22: 681-688.
examining the use of transient expression in mammalian cells to
speed production of recombinant proteins. Bracewell, D.G., Brown R.A. and Hoare, M. (2004). ‘Addressing a
whole bioprocess in real-time using an optical biosensor –
Environment and sustainability
formation and purification of antibody fragments from a
The department addresses research which minimises
recombinant E. coli host’. Bioproc. Biosys. Eng., 26: 271-282.
environmental problems, rather than research which examines the
clean-up of waste. This is now being called Industrial Buckland, B.C., Dunnill, P. and Lilly, M.D. (1975). ‘The enzymatic
Biotechnology and for example uses biocatalysis to avoid the use transformation of water-insoluble reactants in nonaqueous
of toxic and environmentally damaging reagents in the synthesis solvents. Conversion of cholesterol to cholest-4-ene-3-one by a
of intermediates for new medicines. The department pioneered Nocardia sp.’. Biotechnol. Bioeng., 17: 815-826.
the use of two liquid phase biocatalysis in a classic study
Burton, S.G., Cowan, D.A. and Woodley, J.M. (2002). ‘The search
(Buckland et al. 1975) – the aqueous phase to dissolve the
for the ideal biocatalyst’. Nat. Biotechnol., 20: 37-45.
biocatalyst, the immiscible organic phase to dissolve the chemical
intermediate. More recently Gary Lye has pioneered the use of Chen, B., Baganz, F. and Woodley, J. (2007). ‘Modelling and
ionic liquids as a replacement for conventional organic solvents in optimisation of a transketolase mediated carbon-carbon bond
biocatalysis (Cull et al. 2000). Such solvents are not volatile or formation reaction’. Chem. Eng. Sci. 62: 3178-3184.
flammable and offer the potential to enhance the velocity or
Cooke, J.R., McKie, E.A., Ward, J.M., Keshavarz-Moore. E. (2004).
stability of enzyme catalysis (Roberts et al. 2004).
‘Impact of intrinsic DNA structure on processing of plasmids for
An exciting research community gene therapy and DNA vaccines.’ J. Biotechnol. 114: 239-254.
You will see from this description that the Department of Cull, S.G., Holbery, J.D., Vargas-Mora, V., Seddon, K.R. and Lye,
Biochemical Engineering, with colleagues in other disciplines, is G.J. (2000). ‘Room temperature ionic liquids as replacements for
addressing major challenges which will allow the full potential of organic solvents in multiphase bioprocess operations’. Biotechnol.
biological systems to be tapped. The department is distinctive in Bioeng., 69: 227-233.
addressing whole bioprocesses so that there will be the full
knowledge necessary for carrying the science right through to real Doig, S.D., Pickering, S.C.R., Lye, G.J. and Baganz, F. (2005).
outcomes such as new generations of medicines. ‘Modelling surface aeration rates in shaken microtitre plates using
dimensionless groups’. Chem. Eng. Sci., 60: 2741-2750.

Edwards-Parton, S., Thornhill, N.F., Bracewell, D.G., Liddell, J.M.,

and Titchener Hooker, N.J. (2008). ‘Principal Component Score
Modeling for the Rapid Description of Chromatographic
Separations.’ Biotechnol. Prog., 24: 202-208. | 9

Farid, S., Novais, J.L., Karri, S., Washbrook.J. and Titchener-

Hooker, N.J. (2000). ‘A tool for modelling strategic decisions in cell
culture manufacturing’. Biotechnol. Prog., 16: 829-836.

Farid, S.S., Washbrook, J. and Titchener-Hooker, N.J. (2005).

‘Decision-support tool for assessing bio-manufacturing strategies
under uncertainty: Stainless steel versus disposable equipment for
clinical trial material preparation’. Biotechnol. Prog., 21: 486-497.

George, E.D., Titchener-Hooker, N.J. and Farid, S.S. (2007). ‘A

multi-criteria decision-making framework for the selection of
strategies for acquiring biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity’.
Comput. Chem. Eng., 31: 889-901

Hassan, S., van Dolleweerd, C.J., Ioakeimidis, F., Keshavarz-

Moore, E., Ma, J.K. (2008). ‘Considerations for extraction of
monoclonal antibodies targeted to different subcellular
compartments in transgenic tobacco plants.’ Plant Biotechnol J.,
6: 733-748.

Hibbert, E.G., Senussi, T., Costelloe, S.J., Lei, W., Smith, M.E.B.,
Ward, J.M., Hailes, H.C., and Dalby, P.A. (2007). ‘Directed
evolution of transketolase activity on non-phosphorylated
substrates’. J. Biotechnol., 131: 425-432.

Hoare, M., Levy, M.S., Bracewell, D.G., D. Doig, S.D., Kong, S.,
Titchener-Hooker, N., Ward, J.M. and Dunhill, P. (2005).
‘Bioprocess engineering issues that would be faced in producing a
DNA vaccine at up to 100m3 fermentatation scale for an influenza
Micheletti, M., Lye, G.J. (2006). ‘Microscale bioprocess
pandemic’. Biotechnol. Prog., 21: 1577-1592.
optimisation’. Curr. Opin. Biotechol., 17: 611-618.
Hutchinson, N., Bingham, N., Murrell, N., Farid, S. and Hoare, M.
Mukhopadhyay, T.K., Halliwell, D., O’Dwyer, C., Shamlou, P.A.,
(2006). ‘Shear stress analysis of mammalian cell suspensions for
Levy, M.S., Allison, N., Gorringe, A., Reddin, K.M. (2005) ‘Rapid
prediction of industrial centrifugation and its verification’.
characterization of outer membrane proteins in N.lactamica by
Biotechnol. and Bioeng., 95: 483-491.
SELDI- TOF mass spectroscopy for use in a meningococcal
Kendall, D., Booth, A.J., Levy, M.S. and Lye, G.J. (2001). vaccine’. Biotechnol. Appl. Biochem., 41: 175-82.
‘Separation of supercoiled and open-circular plasmid DNA by
Novais, J.L., Titchener-Hooker, N.J. and Hoare, M. (2001).
liquid-liquid counter-current chromatography’. Lett. Biotechnol.,
‘Economic comparison between conventional and disposables-
23: 613-619.
based technology for the production of biopharmaceuticals’.
Lee, L.K., Mount, C.N. and Ayazi Shamlou, P. (2001). Biotechnol. Bioeng., 75: 143-153.
‘Characterisation of the physical stability of colloidal polycation-
Pampel, L., Boushaba, R., Udell, M., Turner, M.K., Titchener-
DNA complexes for gene therapy and DNA vaccines’. Chem. Eng.
Hooker, N.J. (2007) ‘The influence of major components on the
Sci., 56: 3163-3172.
direct chromatographic recovery of a protein from transgenic milk’.
Lye, G.J., Ayazi-Shamlou, P., Baganz, F., Dalby, P.A. and Woodley, J. Chrom. A., 1142: 137-147.
J.M. (2003). ‘Accelerated design of biotransformation processes
Roberts, N.J., Seago, A., Carey, J.S., Freer, R., Preston, C. and
using automated microscale processing techniques’. Trends
Lye, G.J. (2004). ‘Lipase catalysed resolution of the Lotrafiban
Biotechnol., 21: 29-37.
intermediate 2,3,4,5-tetrehydro-4-methyl-3-oxo-1H-1,4-
Micheletti, M., Barrett, T., Doig, S.D., Baganz, F., Levy, M.S., benzodiazepine-2-acetic acid methyl ester in ionic liquids:
Woodley, J.M., Lye, G.J. (2006). ‘Fluid mixing in shaken Comparison to the industrial t-butanol Process’. Green Chem.,
bioreactors: Implications for scale-up predictions from microlitre 6: 475-482.
scale microbial and mammalian cell cultures’. Chem. Eng. Sci.,
Sheridan, R., Jackson, G.A., Regan, L., Ward, J.M. and Dunnill, P.
61: 2939-2949.
(1998). ‘Rational engineering of the TOL meta-cleavage pathway’.
Biotechnol. Bioeng., 58: 240-249.
10 |

Taught MSc degree programmes
Two distinct MSc degree programmes are offered:
• Biochemical Engineering MSc – for graduate scientists
• Biochemical Engineering MSc – for graduate engineers.

Both programmes provide students with the opportunity to

understand how advances in the life sciences can most effectively
be translated into real outcomes of benefit to all. Close linkage of
the Master’s programmes with the research activities of the
Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering (ACBE) ensures
Szita, N., Boccazzi, P., Zhang, Z., Boyle, P., Sinskey, A.J. and
that lecture and case study examples are built around the very
Jensen, K.F. (2005). ‘Development of a multiplexed
latest biological discoveries and bioprocessing technologies.
microbioreactor system for high-throughput bioprocessing’. Lab.
Examples include the production, processing and formulation of
Chip., 5: 819-826.
plasmid DNA for applications in gene therapy and the rational
Thillaivinayagalingam, P., O’Donovan, K., Newcombe, A.R., engineering of bacterial metabolic pathways for the production of
Keshavarz-Moore, E. (2007) ‘Characterisation of an industrial novel antibiotics to overcome the growing problem of microbial
affinity process used in the manufacturing of digoxin-specific resistance. Further research examples are given under Research
polyclonal Fab fragments’, J. Chrom. B., 848: 88-96. Areas on pages 5-8 of this booklet.

Titchener-Hooker, N.J., Dunnill, P., Hoare, M. (2008) ‘Micro A recent innovation in both MSc programmes is the inclusion of
biochemical engineering to accelerate the design of industrial- material on the financing and management of bioprocess business
scale downstream processes for biopharmaceutical proteins’. ventures. The aim here is to generate an entrepreneurial spirit in
Biotechnol. Bioeng., 100: 473-487. all the students of the department. It also recognises the fact that
the discovery of new products and processes is increasingly
Veraitch, F.S., Scott, R., Wong, J., Lye, G.J. Mason, C. (2008)
driven by small, high-tech companies. The training provided in this
‘The impact of manual processing on the expansion and directed
area is centred on the generation of a bioprocess business plan
differentiation of embryonic stem cells’. Biotech Bioeng.,
and is strengthened by collaboration with the London Business
99: 1216-1229.
School. Another recent innovation is the delivery of material on
Woodley, J.M. and Titchener-Hooker, N.J. (1996). ‘The use of the validation of bioprocesses. This is a vital area for the
windows of operation as a bioprocess design tool’. Bioprocess bioindustry since companies need to show that their processes
Eng., 14: 263-268. are safe and reproducible if they are to be granted licences for the
production of human therapeutic materials. The programme has
Yeung, K.S.Y., Hoare, M., Thornhill, N.F., Williams, T. and
also developed to cover new treatments in the rapidly evolving
Vaghjiani, J. (1999). ‘Near infrared spectroscopy for bioprocess
area of cellular therapies with a module on mammalian cell culture
monitoring and control’. Biotechnol. Bioeng., 63: 684-693.
and stem cell processing.
Zhou, Y.H. and Titchener-Hooker, N.J. (1999). ‘Visualising
The content of the MSc programmes is closely linked to, and
integrated bioprocess designs through “Windows of Operation”’.
benefits considerably from, the department’s post-experience
Biotechnol. Bioeng., 65: 550-557.
MBI® Training Programme. Scientists and engineers already
working in the bioindustry participate in the MBI® programme to
update their knowledge on particular aspects of biochemical
engineering, or to work towards a Master’s qualification.
Industrialists engaged upon MBI® training activities come from all
over the world and sit alongside the full-time Master’s students for
a number of the programme elements. Delegates from nearly 200
companies have benefited from such training while over 50 leading
industrialists contribute to the teaching activities. | 11

Approximately three-quarters of candidates elect to take up

employment in the relevant biotechnology industries while the
remainder follow careers in the management, financial or
engineering design sectors. Approximately half of those who
choose the bioindustry sector will undertake PhD or EngD
programmes in biochemical engineering either at UCL or other
universities, before commencing their industrial careers. Brief
career profiles of some of the former graduates of the department
are presented on page 16 of this booklet.

Entry requirements
The conversion and biochemical engineering elements of both
Normal entry requirements are at least a second-class Honours
streams of the MSc programme are assessed by written
degree from a UK university or the equivalent from an approved
examinations in May/June. The bioprocess management and pilot-
overseas institution. Candidates offering recent industrial
plant studies are assessed by a combination of case study
experience in place of academic qualifications are encouraged
reports, oral and poster presentations throughout the year.
to apply.
The bioprocess research projects (for graduate engineers) and
As with any engineering discipline numeracy skills are important
design projects (for graduate scientists) are assessed by written
for the quantitative description of biological and physical
theses and oral examinations in September. The MSc Examination
phenomena. Evidence of numerical ability is requested as either
Board meeting is held in mid-September to provide the final
an A level in Mathematics (or in exceptional cases, in Physics) or
programme assessment.
some mathematics studied at university. The department provides
mathematics tutoring for Master’s students throughout the year Accreditation
adjusted to a candidate’s ability. The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE),
is the body which represents the biochemical engineering
Applications from graduate scientists are normally from
profession in the UK. All Master’s programmes in the department
candidates holding qualifications in applied biology, biochemistry,
are accredited by the IChemE. The accreditation allows
biotechnology, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacy or other
graduates to join the institution and obtain admission to the
related subjects. Applications from graduate engineers are
professional grade ‘Chartered Engineer – CEng’ after appropriate
normally from candidates holding qualifications in biochemical
additional experience.
engineering, chemical engineering, process engineering or other
related subjects.
Postgraduate Diploma programme
There are typically up to 30 full-time places available each year. The Postgraduate Diploma programme runs for nine months from
Both degree programmes are 12 months in length and begin in September to May. It is identical to the taught part of the
late September. corresponding MSc programme, i.e. the first two terms of lectures
Funding and the examinations are the same but there is no research or
In recognition of the shortage of trained biochemical engineers design project. Exceptionally, students may be accepted on to the
both the EPSRC and the BBSRC provide fully-funded studentships Postgraduate Diploma with qualifications lower than those required
for suitably qualified applicants. Typically 10-13 such awards are for admission to the corresponding MSc.
available for candidates who meet UK or EU nationality Students who pass the Postgraduate Diploma examinations
requirements and who hold at least a second-class Honours at the appropriate level may be allowed to transfer to the
degree or equivalent qualification. MSc programme.
Career options for UCL MSc graduates
The first destinations of those who graduate from the Master’s
programmes in Biochemical Engineering reflect the highly relevant
nature of the training delivered. UCL biochemical engineers are in
demand, and are likely to stay in demand, due to their breadth of
expertise, numerical ability and problem-solving skills.
12 |

Engineering Graduates Science Graduates

Appraisal and Application Biochemical Engineering and

of Advanced Life Sciences (45) New Bioprocess Challenges (45)
• Microbial metabolism and engineering • Bioprocess synthesis and mapping
• Structural biology and protein engineering • Heat and mass transfer in bioprocesses
• Cellular function: genome to metabolome • Fluid flow and mixing in bioprocesses

Biochemical Engineering (45)
• Advanced bioreactor engineering
• Integrated downstream processing
• Cell culture and stem cell processing

Bioprocess Design
and Implementation (15)
Design, planning, conduct and analysis of
a full pilot scale bioprocess

Advanced Bioprocess Advanced Bioprocess

Research (45) Design (45)
• Bioprocess research project • Bioprocess creation and analysis
• Research project business appraisal • Bioprocess design and economic appraisal
• Bioprocess validation and quality control • Bioprocess validation and quality control

Management of
Bioprocess Ventures (30)
• Commercialisation of bioprocess result
• Bioprocess entrepreneurial business plan

MSc in Biochemical Engineering | 13

Biochemical Engineering MSc – for

graduate scientists

The flow chart on page 12 shows the structure of this degree
programme and the individual topics studied. The numbers in
parentheses indicate the credit hours associated with each
element of the programme (180 credits are required in order to be
considered for the award of the MSc degree). The programme is recent years, has included the manufacture of plasmid DNA,
divided into four distinct but related elements. chiral pharmaceuticals and therapeutic antibodies. Important
experimental data on which the designs are based is often
Conversion elements: biochemical engineering fundamentals
provided by the centre’s doctoral researchers. Written reports
and bioprocess challenges
are produced by each student at various stages in the design
The material here is designed to provide science graduates with
project and a series of oral presentations is made to panels of
the fundamentals of process engineering relevant to the handling
industrialists who provide feedback during the evolution of
of biological materials. Students learn, for example, the principles
the designs.
of how to calculate nutrient requirements for industrial scale
microbial conversion processes and how to predict and control the Management of bioprocess ventures
environment in which cells have to survive and grow. Students’ This element of the MSc programme reflects the growing need for
knowledge of the structures of biological polymers is built on to qualified biochemical engineers to be equally aware of the issues
show how this can be used to predict the stress damage which involved in the establishment and management of small, high-tech
may occur when delicate biological materials are processed in the companies. The material covered here was originally developed by
production of, say, personalised medicines. the MBI® Training Programme for those already in the bioindusty
and is based on a number of real industrial case studies. These
Advanced biochemical engineering and
culminate in the production and presentation of a bioprocess
bioprocess implementation
business plan for the translation of a life science discovery into a
These core elements of the programme cover the detailed design
real outcome.
of biological conversion processes, i.e. fermentation and
biotransformation, and the subsequent recovery, purification and
formulation of therapeutic products. Lecture and case study Biochemical Engineering MSc – for
material is supported by a series of experiments on individual unit
graduate engineers
operations which are complemented by a week-long study in the
department’s pilot-plant. Here students make use of all the
Centre’s facilities to learn how to plan and execute whole
sequences of complex operations (which has in previous years The flow chart on page 12 shows the structure of this degree
contributed to important research publications, e.g. Hoare et al. programme and the individual topics studied. The numbers in
2005). The material in these elements of the programme is parentheses indicate the credit hours associated with each
designed to provide students with the ability to take the results of element of the programme (180 credits are required in order to be
new life sciences, such as gene therapy, tissue engineering and considered for the award of the MSc degree). The programme is
metabolic pathway engineering, and translate them into real divided into four distinct but integrated components.
process outcomes. Conversion elements: appraisal and application of advanced
Advanced bioprocess design life sciences
The two elements above are completed concurrently within the The material here is designed to provide engineering graduates
first nine months of the MSc programme leaving time for the skills with the fundamentals regarding the structure and operation of
and information gained to be applied to a group design project. biological catalysts such as enzymes and microbial cells. Students
For graduate scientists who wish to proceed towards chartered also learn how genetic techniques can be used to engineer
engineer (CEng) status this is a vital part of the programme. The changes rationally in the properties of biocatalysts in order to
project involves the complete design of a bioprocess, together with bring about process improvements. Lecture material is
economic and safety analyses, and the establishment of process supported by tutorials and practical classes in which key issues
validation methodologies. The choice of target products is closely are illustrated.
linked to the research activities of the Advanced Centre and, in
14 |

Bioprocess research project (or advanced bioprocess design)

Each candidate usually carries out an original research project of
their choice, under the supervision of a member of academic staff.
During this time the Master’s students are fully integrated into the
activities of one of the multidisciplinary research teams within the
Advanced Centre as described on page 5. Research projects are
often co-supervised by staff in associated UCL departments such
as Structural and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, or Electronic and
Electrical Engineering and, on occasion, are linked to ongoing
industrial collaborations. Students complete a written thesis and
are required to present their findings to the examiners as a
research poster. Engineering graduates may opt to take part in the
bioprocess design project activity in place of the research project
(see description under MSc Biochemical Engineering – for
graduate scientists).

Management of bioprocess ventures

This element of the MSc programme reflects the growing need for
qualified biochemical engineers to be equally aware of the issues
involved in the establishment and management of small, high-tech
companies. The material covered here was originally developed by
the MBI® Training Programme for those already in the bioindustry
and is based on a number of real industrial case studies. These
culminate in the production and presentation of a bioprocess
business plan for the translation of a life science discovery into a
real outcome.

Advanced biochemical engineering and

bioprocess implementation
These core elements of the programme cover the detailed design
of biological conversion processes, i.e. fermentation and
biotransformation, and the subsequent recovery, purification and
formulation of therapeutic products. Lecture and case study
material is supported by a series of experiments on individual unit
operations which are complemented by a week-long study in the
department’s pilot-plant. Here students make use of all the
Centre’s facilities to learn how to plan and execute whole
sequences of complex operations (which has in previous years
contributed to important research publications, e.g Hoare et al.
2005). The material in these elements of the programme is
designed to provide students with the ability to take the results of
new life sciences, such as gene therapy, tissue engineering and
metabolic pathway engineering, and translate them into real
process outcomes. | 15

Academic staff and their areas of research
Mike Hoare
Professor, Head of Department, Director of the Advanced Centre
for Biochemical Engineering (ACBE) and Chairman to the
Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre for Bioprocessing
(IMRC), Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the
Institution of Chemical Engineers
Downstream processing, especially centrifugation, flocculation,
precipitation, crystallisation, and the formulation and drying of
biopharmaceuticals. Biomacromolecules and biomaterials from Frank Baganz
formation to formulated product: the enhanced creation and Senior Lecturer, Society of Chemical Industry, Biotechnology
operation of bioprocesses using ultra scale-down experimentation Subject Group Committee Member, Member of Society of
and predictive design methods. General Microbiology
Engineering and modelling of metabolic pathways and biocatalytic
Peter Dunnill, OBE
processes especially with whole cells. Fermentation and cell
Professor, Chairman of the Advanced Centre for Biochemical
culture processes and its integration with downstream processing.
Engineering (ACBE), Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
Bioreactor design and scale-down focusing on engineering
and of the Royal Society of Chemistry
characterisation of novel miniaturised devices and microwell-
Integration of the ACBE’s research themes and the linkage of
based systems.
biochemical engineering research with the most recent discoveries
in the biosciences and the UK manufacturing policy. Paul Dalby
Senior Lecturer, Royal Society of Chemistry, Biotechnology Group
Nigel Titchener-Hooker
Committee Chairman, Member of the American Chemical Society
Professor, Deputy Head of Department, Director of the Innovative
Protein engineering of biocatalysts in real bioprocess
Manufacturing Research Centre for Bioprocessing (IMRC),
environments and linkage to metabolic pathway engineering.
Director of EngD Programme, Fellow of the Royal Academy of
Understanding the principles of protein refolding, stability
Engineering and the Institution of Chemical Engineers, Member of
and formulation.
the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Accelerated design of new bioprocesses using computer-based Chris Mason
and experimental methods. Integrated design of process Senior Lecturer, Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons
sequences, including the use of novel unit operations. Linkage of Regenerative medicine bioprocessing – translation of tissue
business and process models to improve the rate of development engineering and stem cell discoveries into routine clinical practice.
of new biopharmaceuticals.
Nicolas Szita
Gary Lye Senior Lecturer
Professor, Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, Bioprocess Microfluidics - application of micro and
Director of MSc Programme, Director of the Bioconversion- nanotechnology for novel microbioreactors, small-scale cultivation
Chemistry-Engineering Interface programme, Chair IChemE and downstream processing. Integrated microfluidic systems for
Biochemical Engineering Subject Group stem cell derivation, expansion and differentiation.
Automated microscale processing techniques for the rapid design
Daniel Bracewell
of bioconversion process sequences and the expansion and
Lecturer, Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical
differentiation of stem cells. Whole-process evaluation of novel
Biosciences Group, Associate Member of the Institution of
separation technologies, and the design and scale-up of
Chemical Engineers
integrated reaction-separation systems.
Ultra scale-down of downstream processing operations
Eli Keshavarz-Moore particularly chromatography. Rapid bioprocess monitoring, in
Reader, Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, particular of protein product and heteroforms together with key
Programme Leader in Enterprise Training for Bioprocessing and contaminants. The application of novel analytical techniques in
Life Sciences terms of real-time process definition and control.
Bioprocess synthesis for recombinant macromolecules with
emphasis on the impact of DNA technology on bioprocessing.
Containment and safety of bioprocesses and the processing of
materials produced by transgenic organisms.
16 |

Planning your career
The department places great emphasis on its ability to assist its
graduates in taking up challenging careers. UCL alumni, together
with the department’s links with industrial groups, provide an
excellent source of leads for graduates.

At the end of January each year the department circulates, to a

wide number of companies both in the UK and abroad, the CVs of
Master’s students interested in obtaining full-time employment
within the biological industries (including the pharmaceuticals,
Suzanne Farid food, antibiotics, waste treatment and biotechnology sectors). This
Lecturer, Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers is a major exercise and one of the main routes by which recent
Rapid evaluation of bioprocessing alternatives using decision- students in biochemical engineering at UCL have gained
support simulation tools that link bioprocess and business models. employment. Additionally, students are strongly encouraged to
Risk analysis for the selection of competing bioprocess options make direct applications to companies and are given considerable
under financial and operational uncertainty. Development of help and advice in preparing their CVs. Each year a large number
computer-aided techniques to determine the impact of of industrialists visit the department and many hold their initial
manufacturing decisions on the management of R&D drug interviews with Master’s students at UCL.
portfolios. Technical and economical evaluation of the production
of tissue engineering products. Career profiles of some former
Martina Micheletti graduate students
Lecturer, Associate Member of the Institution of Nearly 1,000 students have graduated from UCL with graduate
Chemical Engineers qualifications in biochemical engineering at Master’s or doctoral
Microscale bioprocessing and fundamental engineering - levels. Many have gone on to distinguished and senior positions in
development of automated microscale techniques for upstream the international bioindustry. Others have followed independent
and downstream operations, mixing in multi-phase flows and academic careers in universities around the world. A few examples
scale-up. are given below to show the breadth of interests and the extent of
feedback to the department from its alumni in areas such as
Tarit K. Mukhopadhyay career advice and training input.
Lecturer, Associate Member of the Institute of Chemical
Engineers, Member of Society of Chemical Industry Mr Neil Bingham studied for his MSc in 1995. On completion he
Vaccine bioprocess development. Creating innovative platforms for took a position with Lonza Biologics UK working on mammalian
the rapid determination of the process route of vaccines. cell filtration. In 2003, he joined Amgen in Thousand
Aggregation phenomena and its impact on downstream Oaks, California.
processing of virus like particle vaccines. Bioprocessing of RNA/ Dr Paul Bird completed the MSc in 1998 and then joined Lonza
DNA vaccines. Biologics where he was involved in the manufacture of therapeutic
Farlan Veraitch antibodies. In 1999 he returned to the department to undertake
Lecturer, Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, PhD research, which he completed in 2003, and subsequently
Biochemical Engineering Subject Group Committee Member, joined Avecia in Billingham.
Member of the European Society for Animal Cell Technology Mr Charles Boit completed a first degree in pharmacology before
Development of robust, reproducible, high-yield processes for undertaking the MSc in Biochemical Engineering for graduate
embryonic stem cell production. Dynamic control of the scientists. He graduated in 2001 with a distinction and is now a
microenvironment during embryonic stem cell expansion and principal engineer with Unilever in Kenya.
differentiation. Automated control of harvesting and inoculation for
cell therapy production. Dr George Bou-Habib began his PhD in the department in 1994.
On finishing his doctorate he took a research position at the
Yuhong Zhou Nestle Research Centre near Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2002, he
Lecturer, Associate Member of the Institution of moved to a small company in Zurich MMS AG Membrane Systems
Chemical Engineers as a senior process engineer.
Accelerated design of bioprocess sequences and business
processes. Application of numerical and computing techniques to
metabolic pathway modelling and bioinformatics. | 17

Dr Natalie Boulding completed an MSc in 1996 and a PhD in

2001. For five years she was the MBI® Training Programme
manager for the Department of Biochemical Engineering at UCL.
She then took a position as a Research Scientist at the
Bioprocess Technology Institute of Singapore.

Professor Barry Buckland is Vice-President of Bioprocess

Research at Merck, USA, one of the largest biopharmaceutical
companies in the world. His links with the department include his
MSc in 1971 and his PhD in 1974. He has been a regular lecturer
on industrial courses at UCL and is an Honorary Professor and a
Fellow of UCL.

Dr Jim Davies, originally an applied biologist, completed the MSc

in 1997 and a PhD in 2000. He initially worked for
GlaxoSmithKline, Beckenham, on the production of DNA vaccines
before moving to Lonza Biologics, Slough, in 2003.

Dr Andrew Dorward graduated as a chemical engineer from

UMIST before joining the department in 1998 to work on large
scale protein crystallisation in collaboration with Novo Nordisk,
Denmark. He joined Eli Lilly, Speke, in 2003 where he is now
involved in large-scale antibiotic fermentation.

Dr Joanna Harrison completed an MSc in Biochemical

Engineering at UCL in 1991 and a PhD in 1996. She was then
involved in the establishment of the department’s MBI® Training
Programme before joining the business development group at the
University of Cambridge in 2001. Dr Jon Postlethwaite completed a UCL Master’s degree in
1999 and a PhD in collaboration with Pall Filtration in 2003.
Dr Katie Lander completed a Natural Sciences degree at
Upon graduation he took up a position with Codexis, California,
Cambridge before graduating with a UCL Master’s degree in 1998
a company involved in the engineering of advanced
and a PhD in Biochemical Engineering in 2002. She now works for
industrial biocatalysts.
Eli Lilly alongside a number of former UCL graduates.
Dr Jo Rumpus took her BEng degree in 1989 and completed her
Dr Tim Lee completed a UCL Master’s degree in 1996 and a PhD
PhD in 1997. Jo worked in a consultancy role at Glaxo Wellcome
in Biochemical Engineering in 1999. Since completing his PhD he
(now GSK) before joining Jacobs Engineering in 1998. She is now
has worked for Sanofi Pasteur in Canada but spends a
employed as a pharmaceutical engineer with Cantab
considerable amount of time liaising with other Sanofi Pasteur
Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge.
sites around the world, particularly in France, in his role as a
senior developmental scientist. Dr Somaiya Siddiqi graduated with a BEng in 1988 and a PhD in
1997. Between her two degrees she worked as an accountant.
Dr Ihsan Marzouqi completed his Masters in 2002 and PhD
She joined Jacobs Engineering in 1996 and most recently moved
in 2005 before returning to the United Arab Emirates to join
to Kleinwort Benson Bank as an IT specialist in the Far East
Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech).
trading section.
As Director of Business Development he works on developing
the necessary regulatory framework and environment to attract Dr Martin Smith was awarded his degree in Biochemical
biotech/pharma companies. Engineering in 1994, undertook collaborative research with
Pharmacia (Sweden) and achieved his PhD in 1997. After
Dr Matt Osborne completed the MSc in 1996 and a PhD in
graduation, Martin joined Merck, USA, where he worked as a
collaboration with Pfizer, Sandwich, in 2000. He subsequently
research engineer. He is now a senior engineer with Lonza
worked for Cambridge Antibody Technology, Cambridge, for two
Biologics, UK.
years before joining Pfizer as a full-time employee in 2003.
18 |

provide recent evidence of their ability to understand and use

English to a standard that will ensure that language problems do
not substantially impede their academic progress. UCL accepts a
number of English Language qualifications including the
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at a
minimum overall grade of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each of the
sub-tests. A list of acceptable English Language qualifications is
included in UCL’s Graduate Applications Pack and in the How To
Apply section of UCL’s website at

UCL’s Language Centre offers both a one-year full-time Diploma in

English for Academic Purposes and a range of pre-sessional
English language courses for those who do not meet UCL’s
minimum standard.

The International Office is a centre of expertise and advice for

overseas students, who are welcome to seek help or guidance in
many areas such as immigration, housing, finance, English
language tuition and fees. Research in biochemical engineering
can be expensive, especially when using recombinant materials or
operating at pilot-plant scale. For overseas students we must
request a contribution towards the cost of the research in the form
of additional research expenses. Typically these will range from
£2,000 to £10,000 per year and will be agreed before the research
programme begins.

Advice on a variety of matters, including the level of additional

Dr Karen Wilson was awarded her first degree in 1989.
research expenses required, can also be obtained within the
After a year in the City she returned to UCL to study for her
department from the Admissions Tutor or the Departmental
PhD. Following graduation, Karen went to the University of
Administrator (non-academic matters only).
Sydney, Australia, where she is working as a lecturer in
biochemical engineering.
How to apply
Dr John Young joined the department to study for his MSc in To make an application please visit
1995 and remained to work towards his PhD which he completed and select
in 1999. He initially worked as a process engineer with Foster How to Apply, where you can choose between the options of
Wheeler, a large engineering contractor with offices throughout the applying online, downloading the application materials, or
world, before becoming an independent consultant in 2003. requesting an application pack to be sent by post.

Alternatively you may telephone the UCL Study Information Centre

International students
to request an application pack (contact details are given on the
The department welcomes applications from overseas students for
inside front cover). Your completed application should be
both its taught Master’s degree programmes and research
submitted to UCL Admissions.
degrees. Over recent years students have come from Argentina,
Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Some advisory notes on the completion of the application form
Greece, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, are listed below. You may have already submitted a detailed CV
Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and the and this form will request duplicate information. If preferred, you
United States. are welcome to cross-refer to your CV.

All applicants for graduate programmes are required to hold, or to Research subject area/name of taught programme
expect to hold prior to entry, a first-class or second-class Honours For research subject areas ‘Biochemical
degree from a UK university, or its equivalent from a recognised Engineering/Bioprocessing’ will suffice as an entry but applicants
overseas institution. Before beginning a programme of study all who do have specific research areas of interest should note these
students whose first language is not English are required to in the personal statement. | 19

For students with a biological science background wishing to apply
for a place on the MSc in Biochemical Engineering, it would be
helpful if they could, in addition, provide details of mathematics
courses taken at A level (or equivalent) standard and at university.

Transcripts are required for all qualifications that are relevant

to the application that is being submitted. All documents
must be in English. Any translation of documents must be
certified as true and original.

The department would expect to interview applicants who are
resident in the UK. Applicants resident overseas will normally be
considered without interview.

Both referees should be able to comment on your recent higher
education studies. For applicants with relevant industrial
experience one of these referees may be a scientist or engineer
with whom you have recently worked. Current UCL students need
not supply references.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees are as follows.

MPhil/PhD/EngD research programmes

UK/EU 2008/9 full-time fee: £3,300
Overseas 2009/10 full-time fee: £16,670

Biochemical Engineering MSc

UK/EU 2008/9 full-time fee: £3,300
Overseas 2009/10 full-time fee: £17,545

Tuition fees are subject to an annual increase. Fees for UK/EU

students for 2009/10 had not been set at the time of going to
press; these are expected to be available from February 2009.

Fees for part-time study are normally charged at half the

full-time rate. Fees for flexible study are charged pro-rata to the
appropriate full-time Master’s fee.

For Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates drawing

on a corresponding Master’s programme, the fee is proportional to
the number of courses being taken.

For further information on tuition fees see:

Further information on funding your degree may be found

on our website at or in the
Sources of Funding for Graduate Students booklet, available
from UCL’s Study Information Centre (see inside front cover for
contact details).
This booklet must be read in conjunction with UCL's Graduate
Prospectus. The information given in this booklet is correct at the
time of going to press and UCL will make every effort to provide
the programmes described herein. However, the booklet is
published well in advance of the session to which it relates and
UCL reserves the right to withdraw any programme, and to
withdraw or amend the content of any course forming part of a
programme, either before or after students enrol. UCL undertakes
all reasonable steps to provide educational services but does not
guarantee the provision of such services. Please see the detailed
Disclaimer in UCL's Graduate Prospectus.

Information in
alternative formats

The information in this publication

can also be found at
on the UCL website. If you require
the information in an alternative
format (e.g. large print), please
contact the UCL Disability Centre.

Telephone +44 (0)20 7679 0100

or email

© Educational Liaison, UCL. November 2008

University College London
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT

Information on UCL degree programmes:

TEL +44 (0)20 7679 3000
FAX +44 (0)20 7679 3001