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UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering

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What is Biochemical Engineering?

Biochemical engineers translate exciting discoveries in life sciences into practical materials and processes contributing to human health and well-being.

What do biochemical engineers do?

Biochemical engineers are key players in the greatest biomedical challenges that lie ahead including the preparation of vaccines for the treatment of diseases as diverse as HIV, AIDS, swine flu and cervical cancer as well as the construction of tissue engineered replacement body parts. Crucially, they are continually concerned with ensuring that the methods used to prepare the medicine are the safest possible, as even a few virus molecules from a contaminated source are enough to make a valuable medicine a dangerous vehicle for infection, especially if it is given by injection.

What problems are biochemical engineers trying to solve?

Biochemical engineers are key players in the greatest biomedical challenges that lie ahead including the preparation of vaccines for the treatment of diseases as diverse as:

  • HIV, AIDS
  • swine flu
  • cervical cancer

as well as the construction of tissue engineered replacement body parts. Crucially, they are continually concerned with ensuring that the methods used to prepare the medicine are the safest possible, as even a few virus molecules from a contaminated source are enough to make a valuable medicine a dangerous vehicle for infection, especially if it is given by injection.

In the next decade and beyond, the contributions of biochemical engineers to the worldwide community will be vital not only in the area of new medicines but also for novel materials from renewable sources such as:

  • biofuels
  • improved approaches to reducing and dealing with environmental pollution
  • more nutritious foods.

Where can I find out more?

For a non-specialist summary of the activities in which biochemical engineers are involved and the challenges they face, read The Excitement of Biochemical Engineering (pdf, 146kb).