Biochemical Engineering




Do you want to know what biochemical engineering is and how biochemical engineers are making an impact in the world by developing ways to manufacture new medicines, by finding sustainable ways to produce chemicals or by making cell and gene therapy available? Here we give you an overview of the variety of activities we are doing and how you can get involved.

Courses in the Department

During the UCL-wide undergraduate and postgraduate open days we hold admissions talks followed by tours of the pilot plant and labs, where prospective students and parents can visit. There are students and staff around, whom you can ask about the course and the department. We as well run virtual open days for those not able to come to UCL. Theses conclude with a live Q&A session. You can find out about dates and how to apply by going to the open days page.

Our Taster Days give Year 12 students with an interest in Biochemical Engineering the chance to meet current students and lecturers, learn about the subject, work on an interactive exercise with presentations and visit our laboratory teaching facilities. The courses are part of the University of London Taster Day initiative and are run with UCL Widening Participation.

Together with UCL Chemical Engineering, we participate in the Summer Challenge course on “Engineering Solutions from Nature”. A-level students from state schools in or near London attend a series of 5 evening sessions.  The goal is to design reliable processes for obtaining energy via environmentally friendly methods.

Staff and researchers of the Department take part in the UCL Engineering “Engineers save lives” Masterclass series in collaboration with the Royal Institution. Year 9 pupils are introduced to the diverse range of engineering disciplines in order to inspire them.

Work Experience

We are working closely with the In2Science and Nuffield charities to offer work experience weeks for Year 12 students from low-income background. For 2 to 6 weeks you will work alongside professionals depending on the scheme.

If you are enthusiastic about Biochemical Engineering or Bioprocessing of New Medicines this is a great way to get hands on experience and meet our researchers. In case you are not eligible for these programmes but interested in working with us for a week or two we might be able to host you depending on availability of our researchers.

School visits and Teaching Materials

Our researchers are involved in a range of outreach activities organised by the UCL Faculty of Engineering and UCL Widening Participation. Our STEM ambassadors take part in school visits talking about their personal journeys into biochemical engineering. One of our researchers recently co-created the programme “How Many Engineers Does it take to make Ice Cream?” that is run by the Brilliant Club in schools in Greater London. You can also learn about automation in the “Robot Racing with GERTI” sessions. And pupils can get support to solve engineering problems in The Primary Engineer programme.

Science and Engineering Fairs and Festivals

We have a strong presence at science fairs and festivals: The “Big Algae Experiment”, an open source algae bioreactor and phone app, for example has been rolled out with school groups at the New Scientist Festival, the Latitude Festival and elsewhere. The department was present at last years SmashfestUK showing how to obtain clean water in the event of a natural disaster. Together with the University of Manchester our doctoral students demonstrated at the Manchester Science Festival how to make medicine by producing edible beads. We also took part in designing the “Engineer your Future” installation at the Science Museum London. As part of the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) the department hosted a one-day residential course.

Check on our news & events page, UCL Engineering School Engagement site and UCL Wider Participation site for future events.

Information for Teachers
Information for Pupils and Parents

News & Events

Darren Nesbeth made Associate Professor

Dr Darren Nesbeth has been promoted to the post of Associate Professor. The appointment was made in light of the work he's done establishing Synthetic Biology teaching activities at UCL Biochemical Engineering, as well as success in successive iGEM competitions. 

Published: Jul 18, 2018 3:24:33 PM

Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub (FTHM) Biochemical Engineering workshop

Launched in 2017, UCL’s FTHM engages leading academics (Philosophy, Pharmacy, Engineering, Decision Tools Analysis, etc.) working in a cross-disciplinary way with industrial partners to ensure that a new generation of stratified medicines can be developed quickly and manufactured at a cost affordable to society.

Published: Jul 10, 2018 4:02:43 PM

Sarah Slack wins People's Choice Award at 3MT

EngD Student Sarah Slack has won the People's Choice award at this year's 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at UCL. Sarah was recently involved in the BBC's Contagion project and TV show, and her 3MT, titled "Flu Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope," was given an award by the audience in a vote at the competition on 25 June. We're pleased to say that this is the third year in a row that UCL Biochemical Engineering students have won awards for sharing their enthusiasm about their postdoctoral research projects in this competition.

Published: Jun 26, 2018 9:58:55 AM

Natsai Chieza Designer-in-Residence with Synthetic Biology Team

The Synthetic Biology team at UCL Biochemical Engineering, led by Professor John Ward, have been joined by designer-in-residence Natsai Chieza. "My collaboration with John started in 2011 when he was in SMB in the Darwin Building. We created a framework for deploying colourfast bacteria dyes on fabric using Streptomyces, significantly minimising water-use and negating the use of harmful chemicals. 

Published: Apr 30, 2018 10:34:05 AM