UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Sheun Oshinbolu Awarded RC1851 Industrial Fellowship

11 October 2016

Engineering Doctorate (EngD) research student Sheun Oshinbolu has been awarded a prestigious Royal Commission Fellowship for her work in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline on reducing the cost and time of developing antibodies.

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 awards some 25 postgraduate Fellowships and Scholarships a year, for advanced study and research in science, engineering, the built environment and design.  It also makes a small number of Special Awards to support projects consistent with its overall aims. Many of these are focused on raising the awareness of the young to the opportunities presented by science and engineering.

Sheun studied MEng in Biochemical Engineering at University College London (UCL), which included a one-year study abroad at the Rensselsaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, USA. She graduated with first-class honours in 2014 and went on to commence an EngD in Biochemical Engineering and Bioprocess Engineering at UCL in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.

Sheun's project focuses on antibodies that can be designed by bio-pharmaceutical companies to target patient diseases such as cancer. However, the procedures involved are extremely complex and costly.

The design process begins with thousands of potential antibodies, which have to meet certain quality criteria. One of these standards, aggregation, can only be tested following time and cost consuming purification. Aggregation refers to the “clumping” of antibodies which can be the make-or-break of medicinal development and is one of the main barriers to rapid drug manufacture.

Sheun is looking at ways of measuring aggregation using Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) techniques. This will provide key quality information on the potential antibodies and allow companies to make better and earlier decisions, thus reducing time and costs spent on the development and ultimately selecting superior quality antibodies.

Sheun is on the back row third from the left.