UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering

Prof Michael Hoare

Prof Michael Hoare

Professor of Biochemical Engineering

Dept of Biochemical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
14th Feb 1974

Research summary

Mike’s research focuses on creating novel routes to speed the translation from life science discovery to outcome for next generation therapeutics and help ensure wider access. This particularly concerns advanced biological macromolecular and cellular materials and their processing using a complex sequence of stages from a bioreactor through recovery and purification to product formulation ready for delivery. Challenges for such bioprocess studies include: whole antibodies or fragments or fusions and other therapeutic proteins; modified human cells (especially for cancer therapy), disabled viruses; whole human cells for regenerative therapy.

Speed is crucial if we are to realise the benefits of many advances in the life sciences.

Much of this research is based on discovering ultra scale–down methods to study operations such as centrifugation, membranes, filters and chromatography at the millilitre scale. This work was originally  managed collaboratively with Nigel. Titchener–Hooker, Yuhong. Zhou, Dan Bracewell, Eli Keshavarz–Moore and John. Ward (then at Structural and Molecular Biology,UCL) within the EPSRC-funded IMRC Bioprocessing programme. This programme  involved fifteen leading national and international biopharmaceutical companies and fourteen UCL and UK academic groups of a wide range of disciplines complementary to biochemical engineering.

 Examples have included collaboration with: Mark Smales, Kent on mass spectrometry analysis of variants of antibody structures and the effects of bioprocessing; David Williams and Henk Versteeg, Loughborough on plasmid DNA formulation and aerosolisation; Kerry Chester, Royal Free Hospital, Oncology on bioprocessing of fusion proteins for targeted cancer therapies; Colin Love and Rob Coffin, Biovex and Molecular Pathology UCL on disabled viruses for vaccines.

A Technology Strategy Board Programme enabled collaboration between Onyvax, LGC, ReNeuron, Nottingham Trent University (Bioinformatics Centre) and UCL on human cell bioprocessing for cell–based vaccine cancer therapy. Such activities benefit from initiatives in the Department such as the MBI programme for knowledge transfer and dissemination.

Particular research achievements have included the successful creation of ultra scale–down mimics for high–speed, continuous–flow centrifuges where, from the millilitre scale it has, for example, been possible to predict the performance of industrial scale processing of mammalian cell broths (in collaboration with Lonza Biologics). This offered the opportunity to specify with greater levels of confidence and at earlier stages in process development of the specification of centrifuges to be used. This work has now being taken forward to address the more complex targets described above and also considerations of how the necessary response to emergency healthcare needs (e.g. rapid production of a vaccine) may best be met.

Funding for the above research came from the EPSRC, especially for the EPSRC IMRC Bioprocessing and EPSRC IDTC EngD Bioprocess Leadership programmes, BBSRC Targetted Bioprocessing Studentships, the Technology Strategy Board Programme and a range of company collaborators including Lonza Biologics, UCB Celltech, Biovex, Pall Life Sciences, ReNeuron, ImmunoBiology, GSK, Stabilitech.

Recent collaborations have included research into processing of domain antibodies (with GSK) and most recently with Merck for antibody formulation, Biocatalysts for industrial enzyme processing and Pall Life Sciences for ultra scale-down of depth filtration..

Teaching summary

Mike’s current teaching focuses on addressing the issues which underlie the safe, reliable and cost effective preparation of biopharmaceuticals; that is, the development of validated bioprocesses. This collaboration with Chika Nweke and Richard Francis (a lead consultant in the area) builds on the biochemical engineering skills already acquired by student groups at all levels, undergraduates, postgraduates, research scientists and engineers and also industrial delegates. Case studies and workshops are used to address some of the most challenging problems facing an industry seeking to make available next generation therapies.


Mike is also delighted to be included in the panels of experts to help judge and provide feedback on the bioprocess design study displays (led by  Suzanne Farid and Dan Bracewell); and bioprocess experimental scenarios (including those led by Brenda Parker Frank Baganz and Qasim Rafiq, Mike Sulu and Gareth Mannall).

Most recently Mike has taken up the challenge of pioneering the translation of ultra scale-down (USD) technologies into the undergraduate, postgraduate taught and research and postexperience teaching programmes allowing the early study of the challenges of processing of next generation materials. USD Scenario and USD Practical Projects are providing experimental and design challenges for student teams to address innovative design of bioprocesses to meet new challenges.


University College London
PhD, Biochemical Engineering | 1981
University College London
Dip., Biochemical Engineering | 1971
University College London
MSc, Biochemical Engineering | 1971
University College London
BEng hons, Chemical Engineering | 1970


Mike is a Professor of  Biochemical Engineering UCL.. He is Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (FIChemE).
Other current and previous roles include:
1971/74 Scientific Manager, Unilever Research Laboratory
1974/77 Research Scientist, UKAEA
1974/91 Lecturer/Reader Biochemical Engineering, UCL

1991 Professor of Biochemical Engineering, UCL
1994/2009 Founder and Director MBI postexperience programme,UCL
1998/09 Head of Department Biochemical Engineering, UCL
2002/12 Director/Chair/Co-Chair EPSRC Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre for Bioprocessing
2008/12 Director of GSK-UCL Centre of Excellence Programme in Bioprocessing
Academic background:
1970 BSc (Eng) Hons Chemical Engineering, UCL
1971 MSc (Distn) Biochemical Engineering, UCL
1981 PhD Biochemical Engineering, UCL