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Biochemical Engineering

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Facilities

We encourage access to use our extensive facilities (pilot plant, ultra-scaledown instruments, automation, responsive bioprocessing facility, biophysics suite, formulation and freeze-drying facility, analytical equipment etc) via shared doctoral projects and post-doctoral feasibility studies.

CDT researchers at UCL and at collaborating universities 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 researchers from the centre much sought after.

Facilities at UCL

Fully Equipped Pilot Plant

Fermenter

Micro-Engineering FacilityCentral 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 a scale close to those used in the bioindustry.

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.

Bioprocess Microfluidics Facility

A recent £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

Biochem kit control panel

Biophysics SuiteIn 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.

Biophysical analysis has always been a major component of Biochemical Engineering research at UCL.  The Biophysics suite now hosts many analytical techniques, including fluorimetry, Optim (intrinsic fluorescence and SLS), fluorescence microscopy, mass spectrometry, circular dichroism, visible-UV spectroscopy, HPLC, GC, UPLC, DLS, calorimetry, SPR, micro-flow imaging, and also external access to confocal microscopy, AUC, TEM and SAXS.

Formulation and Freeze-drying facility

centrifuge close-up

Facilities at collaborating institutionsIn May 2015 UCL Biochemical Engineering was awarded £500k by the EPSRC for an equipment bundle to establish a world leading formulation and freeze-drying facility. The facility houses a state-of-the-art pilot scale freeze-dryer, liquid-handling automation, and associated analytical equipment.  This includes a freeze-drying microscope, calorimetry, lyotherm, tangential flow-filtration, and particle sizing.

The CDT welcomes access to leading edge facilities at collaborating institutions.