UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering

Dr Michael Sulu

Dr Michael Sulu

Research Associate

Dept of Biochemical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
9th Sep 2013

Research summary

Michael’s previous research experience is in upstream process development, specifically for biological hydrogen production. He has also held roles that encompass general bioenergy production from a variety of sources and using a variety of technologies. Michael continues to work in upstream process development, whilst being the Facilities Manager for the fermentation area within the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering pilot plant. This research includes the physico-chemical characterisation of processes, fermentation and cell culture. Michael also contributes to elements of post graduate training and supervision such as pilot plant scenario weeks and the teaching of generic research skills. An outgoing member of the department, Michael, is also heavily involved in scientific communication and public outreach projects that span from school visits, through festivals and stand-up comedy nights, to podcasts and open day talks.

Current Collaborators

Sartorius Stedim Biotech (TAP), Thermofisher Scientific, PHE,  

Teaching summary

Michael Is heavily engaged in the undergraduate and post graduate taught programmes in Biochemical Engineering, advising on the UG design projects and devising research projects for the MEng and MSc students. Alongside the postgraduate training provision in upstream processing, Michael also takes part in the Pilot Plant Unit Operations course run by Dr. Gareth Mannall. Recently Michael has begun giving short talks within departmental MBI courses, which feature both industrial and postgraduate students within the cohort of learners and the occasional lecture.


Higher Education Academy
FHEA, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education | 2012
PGCLTHE, Academic studies in Higher Education | 2012
University of Birmingham
PhD, Biochemical Engineering | 2010
University of York
MRes, Chemistry not elsewhere classified | 2005
University College London
MEng, Biochemical Engineering | 2004


Michael conducted his undergraduate studies in Biochemical Engineering (MEng) at UCL followed by a Master of Research (MRes) at the University of York. From there he went on to undertake a PhD at the University of Birmingham, which revolved around upstream process characterisation and optimisation for biological hydrogen production.

Whilst writing his thesis, he spent some time working in a contemporary art gallery and museum, where he learnt more about the interface between art/design and science, from conservation, through artistic processes to final product. This has led on to current activities which include elements of public engagement, using different methods/mediums of communication to explain bioprocess engineering.

After this stint in the art world Michael gained his first post as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Birmingham City University, where he also undertook a PgCert in Teaching and Learning to facilitate part of his role as a module coordinator. His research during this time was underpinned by two EU funded research projects working on the creation of decision support tools and informative software for bioenergy projects. A desire to return to laboratory work brought Michael back to UCL to take up his current post. Since returning to UCL Michael has expanded his knowledge from microbial fermentation processes to include, yeasts, algae mammalian cells and viral/vaccine production processes (as well as an upcoming brewery project).