UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


From Beer to Medicine: Postgraduate’s Public Engagement Evening

15 September 2016

Last night, Thursday 14th September, Biochemical Engineering postgraduate students in The Department of Biochemical Engineering took over Howling Hops in Hackney Wick to take Biochemical Engineering to the public over a pint or two.

The UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering has long-established links with the team at Howling Hops and we’re grateful to them for hosting the event, and also to the team of post-graduate students who organised and ran the event. Rachael Wood writes:

“Public engagement is an important part of the Biochemical Engineering department at UCL. The word ‘biochemical’ has the habit of inducing the glazed eyes look so we spend a lot of time and effort trying to make our work approachable for the public and help them understand how we are solving some of the challenges in the world. 

After a programme where students learnt about different ways to educate and engage with the public about Biochemical Engineering and the department at UCL, we had to organise an event. Adopting a suitably student approach, the public engagement team decided the best way to win people’s hearts was through free food and free beer. On 14th September, we descended on Howling Hops Brewery in Hackney Wick. 

The event was a success with over 100 people attending and over 300 beers given away. Tours of the brewery took place over the course of the evening and were highly popular with beer drinkers keen to see exactly how their favourite brew is made. As well as this, there were plenty of props such as microscopes, an algae bioreactor that can be made for under £10 and microfluidic chips where 20 experiments can be run in parallel on a very small scale.”