Biochemical Engineering


Professor Gary Lye

Professor of Biochemical Engineering

Professor Gary Lye

Head of The Department of Biochemical Engineering

  • Director of Industrial Doctoral Training Centre (IDTC) for Bioprocessing Engineering Leadership

Prof Gary Lye


Bernard Katz 5.10B
Department of Biochemical Engineering
Gordon Street


  • Professor of Biochemical Engineering
    Dept of Biochemical Engineering
    Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL


Research Themes

Gary Lye leads the UCL Bioconversion-Chemistry-Engineering Interface (BiCE) Programme. This involves a multidisciplinary group of researchers interested in novel approaches to speed the development of the next generation of complex pharmaceuticals and methods to aid the uptake and integration of biocatalysis in pharmaceutical syntheses. The programme brings together a group of researchers from three UCL faculties with a long history of collaboration including Professor John Ward (Structural and Molecular Biology) and Dr Helen Hailes (Chemistry) together with Dr Frank Baganz, Dr Paul Dalby, Dr Martina Micheletti and Dr Nicolas Szita (Biochemical Engineering). It is supported by a group of 13 leading national and international companies who comprise the BiCE Industrial Steering Group.

A major focus of Gary's work is the creation of novel automated micro biochemical approaches to speed bioprocess design and optimisation. This has been facilitated by a recent £4.5M investment in the UCL Centre for Micro Biochemical Engineering which he manages. The research focuses on the detailed engineering characterisation of automated microwell systems in order to enable accurate predictions of large scale process performance. These predictions can then be verified in the department\'s large scale bioprocessing facilities. Related studies have addressed miniature stirred bioreactor technologies which have now been commercialised.

In collaboration with BiCE colleagues these micro biochemical engineering approaches are being applied to the evaluation of both evolved and metabolically engineered biocatalysts and integrated chemo-enzymatic syntheses. Studies as part of the IMRC in Bioprocessing and in collaboration with the UK Health Protection Agency (Porton Down) have helped established the manufacture of a new meningococcal vaccine which is now in clinical trials. Most recently collaboration with Dr Chris Mason and Dr Farlan Veraitch within the RegenMed programme has led to studies on the automated expansion and differentiation of stem cells for use in drug screening and human cell therapy.

Funding for the above research has come from the UK EPSRC, the TSB Technology Programme and a range of company collaborators.

Award year Qualification Institution
1992 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Biochemical Engineering
University of Reading
1989 BSc Hons
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
University of Reading

Teaching and Training Activities

Gary’s current teaching activities span all years of the various undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes operated by the Department. These include Introduction to Biochemical Engineering, Integrated Downstream Processing, and Design and Control of Biochemical Reactors. He also co-ordinates and teaches on a number of the department's post-experience MBI® training modules covering aspects of fermentation, downstream processing and biocatalysis and industrial biotechnology. Recent BBSRC Modular Training for Industry grants helped establish a new MBI® modules on Design of Experiments for Bioprocess Optimisation and Vaccine Bioprocessing.

In terms of administrative roles Gary is coordinator of the MSc Biochemical Engineering programme which also receives BBSRC support in the form of a Masters Training Grant. He is also tutor to final-year MEng students. A particular focus of the latter role is a drive to increase the internationalisation of student learning via the development of study abroad programmes (shared with Frank Baganz and Martina Micheletti).