UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Say Hello to the New Beakers Committee for 2018

26 June 2018

The Beakers are UCL Biochemical Engineering's postgraduate committee. Every year we welcome a fresh team of postgraduates to take on roles in the organising team, arranging events and supporting the department. This year we're excited to say hello to Noelle, Pedro, Sofia, Braulio, Maria and Mariana.

Pedro Da Silva Couto - President

Before joining UCL, I did my undergraduate degree and masters at IST in Portugal followed by 3 years of work as a data analyst.  I found myself missing the lab and therefore I decided to do a PhD, under the supervision of Dr. Qasim Rafiq, in a specific field that is a particular passion of mine: cell and gene therapy bioprocessing. As biochemical engineers, we have the knowledge and the skills to answer some of the questions in this new way of producing therapeutic products. As Beakers we hope to foster discussions and team spirit between people that would normally not come together as they work in very distinct projects. We believe that departmental events heavily contribute to bringing people together, as, for very brief moments, people can forget research and interact with their peers sharing the same love for engineering and science. 

Sofia Garcia - Social Media

My undergraduate degree was in Biochemistry at Sciences and Technology Faculty - New University of Lisbon, and I did my masters in Biopharmaceutical Sciences in the Faculty of Pharmacy - University of Lisbon. Before I came to UCL I was working as a research fellow at ITQB, and as I wanted to develop my knowledge in proteins, I took the opportunity to do a PhD at UCL working with Dr. Stefanie Frank, on a project in the area of Synthetic Biology involving bacterial microcompartments and how to improve disulfide bond formation in biotherapeutic proteins.

Braulio Carrillo Sanchez - Marketing

I grew up in North London and then I moved to Canterbury to read Biochemistry at the University of Kent. During my time there I was a member of the iGEM team working on producing magnetic nanoparticles in E. coli. This experience inspired me to pursue a research career and I have been fortunate enough to join the vibrant research community here at UCL Biochemical Engineering. I am working under the supervision of Professor Dan Bracewell and my PhD project is in collaboration with UCB Pharma where I am exploring the use of extracellular vesicles (exosomes) to modulate CHO cell phenotype to enhance cell culture performance. I am delighted to be involved in the Beaker Society and I’m really looking forward to the events we have coming up!

Noelle Colant – Vice President

I did my undergraduate degree at MIT in chemical engineering and theatre arts. While at MIT, I worked with the Love Lab, which now collaborates on Tarit Mukhopadhyay's Gates grant project. The collaboration led me to apply for my PhD at UCL. My work on cell-free synthesis of virus-like particle for vaccine and gene therapy as supervised by Professor Dan Bracewell and Dr. Stefanie Frank is part of the Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub, which has provided me with ample opportunities to connect with scientists and engineers across the country.

Mariana Santos - Secretary

I went to the same university as Pedro (president), IDS in Lisbon and did the same degree before I came to UCL to do my masters where I worked on microfluidics with Professor Nicolas Sziata. Now I'm doing my PhD in ... well .. it's hard to sum up but essentially it’s cascading reactions in microfluidic devices and will be continuing to work with Nicolas and Professor John Ward as my supervisors. We’ve only been a committee for two weeks but we’re finding that we’re all chipping in with the work and helping out with each other’s roles, I’ve mostly been setting up meetings and helping organise the our support of the UCL open day but we’ll be organising lots of things in the coming year.

Maria Parau - Treasurer

I graduated from the department with MEng in Biochemical Engineering in 2016 and after a year working in industry I decided to come back. I’m currently doing an EngD with Dan Bracewell, looking at optimising the harvest of antibody processes using depth filters. I collaborate with Fujifilm on this project, which is great as I have access to more resources and industry knowledge. This is very beneficial for my research work.