UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Sebastian Rudden wins place on Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme

10 March 2020

Engineering (Biochemical) BEng degree student Sebastian Rudden has been successful with his project Optimisation of Growth Protocols for Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Sebastian Rudden in UCL Biochemical Engineering lab

The Laidlaw Foundation’s Undergraduate Research and Leadership programme aims to develop a new generation of leaders who are skilled researchers, embrace data-based decision making, and believe it is a moral imperative to lead with integrity. It invests in talented and motivated undergraduate students, giving them the knowledge, skills and experience to become active global citizens and future leaders.

“I knew about the Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme before I joined UCL Biochemical Engineering but it was through conversations with the team that I decided it would be a good idea to apply. I really wanted to get some hands-on lab experience, which is a challenge in the first year of a degree, as I have an ambition to change the vaccine landscape and help eradicate diseases. I realise that if I want to have a real impact I need to look at how leadership training and that’s a part of this programme. I spoke to Andrea Rayat, Qasim Rafiq and Chika Nweke about my application and they all encouraged me and suggested I ask Rana Khalife to be my supervisor. 

Rana helped me with my application and I’m pleased to say it was successful – we’re working on putting a detailed plan together in the next few weeks. I’ll get a £3,000 stipend to cover the six weeks this year and there is also funding for consumables that will go to the department and next year I’ll be funded again to either continue the project or begin something new. I’m looking forward to the first leadership seminar that’s taking place this weekend and will keep people up to date on the research over the summer.”
Sebastian Rudden March 2020

“It is great to see our first-year students being pro-active and applying for opportunities like this one from the Laidlaw Foundation. The hands-on practical work will be great for Sebastian’s CV and the experience will help develop his leadership potential. The rapid development and manufacture of vaccines is a focus of our Vax-Hub [link] research and is very topical given the current situation with COVID-19. I’m sure Sebastian will achieve his career goal of making important contributions in the vaccine area."
Prof. Gary Lye, Head of Department, March 2020