About the centre
Bioprocess engineering is at the heart of an immensely exciting industrial revolution. New approaches are able to achieve exquisite precision for the design of novel biological catalysts. For the world to gain in terms of health and wealth, these discoveries must be harnessed. Laying foundations for this demands bioprocess engineering research that is as radical as the new science on which it builds.
Researchers who graduate with an EngD in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership from UCL are guaranteed the best possible start in a career with global potential, working on key bioindustry projects that could have lasting impact and bring great rewards for all.
Bioprocessing is at the heart of an immensely exciting industrial revolution. New approaches are able to achieve exquisite precision in the design of novel biocatalysts. For the world to gain in terms of health and wealth, these discoveries must be harnessed. Laying foundations for this demands bioprocess engineering research that is as radical as the new science on which it builds. Our Research Engineers work on key bioindustry projects that could have lasting impact and bring great rewards for all.
Current doctoral programmes address fundamental bioprocess issues underpinning the UK bioprocess-using industries:
The emergence of synthetic biology has led a global research movement to enable the application of engineering principles not just to the cultivation and processing of cells but to the design of the cells themselves. We have pioneering research into designing cells to more efficiently integrate with bioprocesses and offer students the opportunity to compete in the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) annual student synthetic biology competition in Boston, USA.
This involves the synthesis of biorenewable chemicals and complex chiral pharmaceuticals via the integration of biocatalysis and chemistry with engineering to achieve greater selectivity and improved environmental sustainability.
This involves the manufacture of biopharmaceutical human proteins, genes and vaccines addressing next generation therapies and important issues of global healthcare as part of the EPSRC Innovative Manufacturing Centre (IMRC) for Bioprocessing.
Cell Therapy Bioprocessing
This involves interdisciplinary academic-industrial-clinical collaborations underpinning the bioprocessing of human cells and engineered tissues for therapy particularly in response to conditions associated with the ageing population in Western countries.
Lab-on-a-Chip and Bioprocess Microfluid Devices
Microfluidic and lab-on-a-chip devices are capable of handling minute liquid volumes (µL, nL, pL,…) and exploit the exquisite control offered by the laminar flow regime to control the micro-environment for cells and biomolecules finely both in space and in time. We have created a suite of different microfluidic devices to explore upstream and downstream bioprocessing unit operation steps in a cost-effective way. Our suite of devices includes micro-fermentors, microfluidic stem cell culture devices, microfluidic enzymatic reactors, and microfluidic liquid-liquid extraction, membrane-based filtration, resin-based separation, and flocculation devices.
Research in each of the above areas is highly collaborative and includes major themes of micro biochemical engineering (including microfluidics and automation), biological engineering (including metabolic and protein engineering), fermentation and cell culture, downstream processing and formulation. Studies in each of these areas are underpinned by work on intelligent design of experiments and are integrated via whole bioprocess modelling and simulation.
Students in our internationally renowned department are able to make full use of over £30m of investment into comprehensive and unique facilities. All our leading-edge facilities are underpinned by state-of-the-art analytical equipment and experiences obtained from these world class facilities make Research Engineers from the centre much sought after.
Fully Equipped Pilot Plant
Central to the department’s whole bioprocess theme are the large scale bioprocessing facilities available in the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering (ACBE). This new building was the result of a £20 million investment throughout the 1990s with funding from industry, government and various foundations. The ACBE houses pilot scale bioprocess equipment, from fermentation through downstream processing to formulation, that enable studies at scales relevant to bioindustry.
Micro-Engineering and Lab-on-a-Chip Facility
In 2002 the Centre for Micro Biochemical Engineering was constructed within the main UCL engineering building as a result of a £4.5 million investment from competitively funded research grants and a Gatsby Foundation award. These new laboratory and computing suites allow research and training on the integration of rapid small-scale experimental studies with data mining and computer modelling. A range of robotic systems are available to facilitate the rapid engineering of cells and proteins and the high speed acquisition of bioprocess information at the microwell scale. The department also hosts micro-machinery, soft lithography, laser and 3D microfabrication tools to fabricate microfluidic and lab-on-chip devices, as well as microscopy and high-end profilometer to characterise topography and surfaces of these devices. This is complemented by a range of different pumps and sensors to create functional devices with multi-modal analytical capabilities.
Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Labs
A series of further investments since 2005 totalling nearly £2 million, including a competitively won Royal Society-Wolfson award, helped establish a Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Unit and related laboratories for the automated analysis of complex cells and tissues. These facilities underpin studies on the growth of human cells and tissue outside the body to be used in repair being undertaken as part of the RegenMed research programme. Most recently a further £2 million investment in a Bioprocess Microfluidics facility will enable studies on the parallel acquisition of bioprocess data on precious biological materials, such as new medicines or human cells for therapy, at an even smaller scale.
Responsive Bioprocessing Facility
In September 2012 UCL Biochemical Engineering introduced STAMP (Single-use Technology for Advanced Manufacturing Partnership) and at the heart of STAMP is the Responsive Bioprocessing Facility (RBF), located in ACBE. The purpose of the RBF is to act as a centre for training and demonstration of single-use technology and to identify the applications of new single-use unit operations and single-use whole bioprocess sequencers. Through both research case studies and training exercises it demonstrates innovative applications of single-use technologies to novel vaccines, regenerative medicines, macromolecular products and the industrial biotechnology sector.
The Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering University College London, Bernard Katz Building London WC1E 6BT
- Mr Victor Diran - (020) 7679 9298 | firstname.lastname@example.org