UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


The Beaker Society's new Committee

16 May 2016

(left to right) Roman, Fair, Charnett, Mike and Max take a few moments to tell us about themselves, the Beaker Society and what they have coming up in the future, from a BBQ in the quad, to the Christmas Ball, via dancing and volleyball lessons!

What is the Beaker society?

We are post-graduate students who want to build a sense of community in the department. We want to help people meet outside the classroom, away from the office and the laboratory, and, have some fun! We try to leave work behind but it’s always geeky to some extent! The Crook society does the same for the under-graduates but we collaborate on some events and activities; particularly the Christmas ball.

The society is also a great way to network and make connections with both people who are going to end up in the industry or stay in academia. There are journal clubs and small teams that focus on a specific area, such as algae, but BK is for everyone in the department.

We had a really good experience last year getting to know each other, and we’ve had some great support from the previous committee – they’ve given us a lot of advice about how not to make the same mistakes they did.

Tell me about yourselves

Roman Zakrzewski, The Don (or Secretary, officially I suppose) (left)

“I did the undergrad and masters (run through masters MEng) here in the department so this is my 6th year here. I work under Gary in the mammalian cell culture lab together with Max.”

(Fair) Nuttinee Yongsanguanchai, Promoter (Social Secretary). (2nd from left)

“I did my BSc in Nutrition and Food Science at University of Reading and then join UCL for my MSc in Biochemical Engineering. I am now in my first year of PhD (MPhil) in the regenerative medicine lab and Farlan is my supervisor.”

Charnett Chau, Vice President (middle)

“Like Mekky (Roman) I did my undergrad here at UCL on the MEng train, though I did do the EMY and a study exchange at University of Toronto for my final year so I wasn’t at UCL for 2 years of my degree. I took a gap year to volunteer and am now doing a PhD with Nigel on life cycle assessments.”

Michael Martinez, Money Man! (Otherwise known as Treasurer) (2nd from the right)

“ I’m a 1st year here at UCL (basically a fresher!), EngD Biochemical Engineering.  I did my undergrad degree in Biochemistry at The University of York, followed by a year working at UCB Pharma in the downstream processing group.”

Maximilian Lularevic, President (on the right)

“I’m 27 years old; from Freiburg Germany; I love golf, board games and good music. I studied a BSc. in Biology from University of Freiburg, Germany then did a MSc. in applied Biology from ETH Zurich, Switzerland/University Freiburg. After that I worked 1 year at Roche in Basel, Switzerland, working within the MSAT (upstream) team supporting manufacturing and performing tech-transfers. Following that I worked 1 year at Novartis in Basel, Switzerland and was working within the Research and Development department, mainly in upstream process development with ambr250. I’m currently on my 1st year EngD doing metabolic modelling investigating mammalian lactate metabolism.”

How did The Beaker Society start?

We don’t know the origins of the beaker society, to be honest*. When we were asked this we realised we had no idea how it had all come about so we asked Tarit (Mukhopadhyay) and apparently it goes back to before the department was formed out of chemical engineering. We’re told it began back to the late 80s or early 90s but now we’re trying to find out more from Gary (Lye, Head of Department) and Mike Hoare (former Head of Department) and are very interested in what they’ve got to say. It’s got a great history and we’re really pleased to be carrying it on.

What are you looking forward to?

We are planning a BBQ on July 22nd, 4-9pm in the main quad, and hoping for good weather. Please watch out for updates and come along to that. We’re also starting to plan the Christmas ball. This is one of the great pieces of advice we had from the previous BK committee – book your venue early otherwise you’ll never find anywhere to have your end-of-year party.

We’re always open to people getting involved, if anybody wants help run the BBQ or give us a hand organising events and we’re excited about holding our “Give-It-A-Go” session in the summer to give people the chance to try something new out with sessions on volleyball, dancing and other interests we’d like to share. Best way to keep updated will be the emails we send out or on the Beaker Society Facebook page!

* “The Biochemical Engineering PG student society was formed in the early 90's coinciding with the rapid growth in doctoral students associated with the first large Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) grant and the continued success of the MSc programme. The students were given free rein to come up with their own name for the society eventually opting for the Beaker Society after a Character in The Muppets programme that was popular at the time!” (Gary Lye, Head of Department)