Biochemical Engineering


Professor Chris Mason

Visiting Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing

Professor Chris Mason
  • GMC registered medical practitioner 
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FRCS)
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (FRCSI)
  • Fellow of Royal Society of Medicine plus Member of Council of the Medical Genetics Section
  • Member of the Royal Institution of Great Britain
  • Medical Research Council Clinical Research Fellow (October 1999 - August 2002)
  • Overall Winner - Medical Futures Innovation Awards, Medical Futures Innovation Awards. Award sponsor: NESTA (2002)
  • Winner - Best Biotech Start-Up Innovation Award, Medical Futures Innovation Awards, Award sponsor: Accenture (2002)
  • Stem Cell Clinical Liaison Committee Member, MRC (2003 to present)
  • Measurement Advisory Committee Working Group - The Measurement for Emerging Technologies (MET) Programme (a National Measurement System [NMS] Programme) (January 2004 - June 2007)
  • Cofounder with Dr. Stephen Minger (King’s College London), London Regenerative Medicine Network (May 2005 - present)
  • Cofounder and Senior Editor, “Regenerative Medicine” journal (October 2005 - present)
  • Oral and written evidence to the UK Stem Cell Initiative (UKSCI) chaired by Sir John Pattison (December 2005)
  • Steering Committee Member DTI/British Standards Institute (BSi) - PAS 83 - “Guidance on standards, standardised methods and regulation for cell-based therapeutics, from basic research to clinical application” (March 2005 - November 2006)
  • Editorial Board, “Nanomedicine” journal (August 2006 - present)
  • Editorial Advisory Board, “Medical Device Technology” journal (May 2006 - present)
  • Advisory Panel, University of Nottingham - MSc Stem Cell Technology Course - (September 2006 - present)
  • Winner of “ Outstanding Contribution to London Biotechnology” - London Biotechnology Network (2006) - Award shared with Dr. Stephen Minger (King’s College London)
  • Committee Member, Engineering & Biological Systems (EBS), BBSRC (October 2006 - present)
  • Steering Committee Member, UK National Stem Cell Network (UKNSCN) (December 2006 - present)
  • Royal Institution of Great Britain, Friday Evening Discourse, “Therapeutic potential of human stem cells: promise and pitfalls” (February 2007)
  • Advisor, Canadian National Stem Cell Network (2007)
  • Editorial Board, “Tissue Engineering” journal (January 2007 - present)
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Blond McIndoe Research Foundation (October 2007 - present)
  • The Hunterian Lecture, “Stem cells and tissue engineering - Hope or hype?“, Hunterian Society, London (November 2007)
  • Chair of Management Committee, Regenerative Medicine EPSRC Life Science Doctoral Training Centre - Collaboration between the universities of Loughborough, Keele and Nottingham (2007 – present)

Prof Chris Mason



Roberts 118
Torrington Place


  • Professor of Cell and Gene Therapy
    Dept of Biochemical Engineering
    Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL


Mason coordinates the Department’s activities in the emerging field of stem cell and regenerative medicine bioprocessing (RegenMed) which involves the majority of the Department’s staff including; Prof. Mike Hoare, Prof. Peter Dunnill, Prof. Gary Lye, Prof. Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Dr. Farlan Veraitch, Dr. Frank Baganz, Dr. Martina Micheletti, Dr Yuhong Zhou and Dr. Nicolas Szita. Together with a large and growing collection of external of collaborators from both academia and the regen industry, this multidisciplinary group is advancing the translation of the basic stem cell science into safe, clinically effective and affordable therapies for deployment in routine clinical practice.

RegenMed research is focused exclusively on the bioengineering aspects of stem cell and regenerative medicine translation including scale-up and scale-out. Taking a whole bioprocessing approach, i.e. the complete process from donor or patient all the way through to clinical implantation into the patient, requires the establishment of a number of collaborative partnerships with leading representatives of all the key stake holders groups (scientists, engineers, clinicians and regen companies) including:

- Prof. Peter Braude (King’s College London) – Human embryonic stem cell derivation under Good Manufacturing Conditions (GMP). Together with Emma Stephenson (UCL), Braude and Mason, are at the forefront of establishing international consensus standards for human embryonic stem cell derivation.

- Dr. Stephen Minger (King’s College London), Dr. Farlan Veraitch and Martin Town – Human embryonic stem cell expansion and harvesting methodologies.

Prof. Gary Lye, Dr. Farlan Veraitch and Stem Cell Sciences plc together with Prof. Austin Smith (University of Cambridge) as a consultant – Automation of embryonic stem cell expansion and differentiation.

- Dr. Glyn Stacey and Dr. Lyn Healy (UK Stem Cell Bank, NIBSC) – A number of projects involving the expansion and controlled differentiation of stem cells to neurones including electrophysiological studies with Prof. Steven Bolsover (Dept. of Physiology, UCL) and scale-down bioreactor design with Linkam Scientific Ltd. and Martin Town.

- Prof. Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Dr. Roland Fleck (NIBSC), Dr. Yen Choo (Plasticell Ltd.) and Ludmila Ruban – The automation of “Combinatorial Cell Culture”, a novel platform technology designed to efficiently discover bioactive compounds involved in stem cell differentiation that could be used to precisely direct differentiation.

- Prof. Peter Andrews and Prof. Harry Moore (University of Sheffield/Axordia Ltd.) – An engineering approach to reprogramming human fibroblasts into “embryonic stem cell-like cells” using a novel gene therapy methodology.

- Prof. Mike Horton and Dr. Andrew Pelling (London Centre for Nanotechnology) and Dr. Farlan Veraitch – Atomic force microscopy applied to stem cell biology for better understanding the effects of bioprocessing on stem cells.

Prof. Dame Julia Polak, Dr. Anne Bishop and Dr. Helen Rippon (Imperial College London) - Defined cell growth media to optimise stem cell differentiation into respiratory cells.

- Dr. Julie Daniels who directs the Cells for Sight Transplantation & Research Programme at Moorfields Eye Hospital and and Prof. Gabriel Aeppli (London Centre for Nanotechnology) - Characterisation and optimisation of the culture of limbal epithelial stem cells for clinical use.

- Prof. Mike Hoare, Dr. Stephen Ward (Onyvax Ltd.) and Dr. Julian Braybrook (LGC Ltd.) – Impact of the bioprocessing environment on the manufacturing scale-up of whole cell cancer vaccines.

Award year Qualification Institution
2005 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Biochemical Engineering
University College London
1994 MBBS
Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery
United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St.. Thomas's Hospitals
1993 BSc Hons
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Molecular Biology
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

Teaching and Training Activities

Within the Department, Mason has taken the lead role on the provision of stem cell and regenerative medicine bioprocessing teaching at all levels i.e. undergraduate, masters, postdoc and industry. Thus providing the essential teaching base for skilled bioprocessing engineers underpinning the regen industry.
Part of Mason’s teaching contribution is to direct all the stem cell and regenerative medicine bioprocessing aspects of the fourth year MEng programme including two courses. The first MEng course unit introduces students to advanced biochemical engineering and bioprocessing skills and in particular the ability to take fundamental stem cell science concepts and identify how best to translate them into real clinical outcomes. This allows students with engineering design skills to address an activity that will need novel approaches if robust, cost effective and safe cell therapies are to be available. Likewise, Mason has also established an MEng course unit which introduces the students to the latest basic science behind the next generation of regenerative medicine therapies with a view to their potential impact and challenges for biochemical engineering.
Together with Dr. Karen Smith and Dr. Farlan Veraitch, a new MBI module, “Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing” has been established. This course focuses on all aspects of whole bioprocessing including both universal (allogeneic) and patient specific (autologous) cell therapies plus tissue engineering and is taught by a team of internationally recognised industry experts. In addition, important related topics such as regulation and ethics from the commercial perspective are also covered.
A Masters level enterprise course for the Department’s full time MSc and doctoral students has been established in collaboration with Dr. Eli Keshavarz-Moore and Dr. Bill Hornby. Focusing on real case studies from the world of stem cells and regenerative medicine, the MSc and doctoral students, through a number of workshops and other activities, prepare in-depth business plans and presentations.
Mason also contributes to a first year undergraduate course aimed at encouraging students to realise the great value of biochemical engineering and its role in healthcare and society.
A major organisational requirement of the Department’s teaching and tutoring activities is to enable engineering students to acquire life science expertise. The Department strongly believes that this is best achieved by integrating the students with life scientists on their specialist courses and then providing the tutorial linkage to help guide the students. Mason heads up the departmental review group which meets with life science colleagues to oversee how best to address this rapidly developing area.

Mason is responsible for developing the stem cell and regenerative medicine bioprocessing activity of the EPSRC Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Bioprocess Leadership Programme which is overall directed by Prof. Nigel Titchener-Hooker. Cell therapy and regenerative medicine companies/organisations which have already signed up to the scheme include; Axordia, Linkam Scientific, NIBSC, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Onyvax, Plasticell, Smith & Nephew, The Automation Partnership and the UK Stem Cell Bank.