Research on high throughput and automated bioprocess design, as well as the development of modelling, simulation and digital methods such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, focuses on the creation of novel approaches by which to evaluate the impact of synthetic biology outputs on future bio-manufacturing operations. Experimental and modelling approaches are often also combined to predict large-scale performance, to implement efficient process control, or to evaluate their economic and environmental impact.
Our research addresses challenges in the three most important sectors of the advanced bioprocess-using industries:
- Industrial Biotechnology.
Research focuses on biocatalysis and synthetic biology for the sustainable synthesis of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and biofuels from renewable resources.
- Macromolecular Medicines.
Research focuses on the manufacture of advanced biopharmaceutical therapies including antibodies, mRNA and recombinant vaccines.
- Cell and Gene Therapy Bioprocessing.
Research is concerned with the translation of viral vectors, engineered CAR-T cells, and stem -cell science, into novel cell-, tissue-, and gene-therapies.
The Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering
The ACBE provides a unique environment for this research. The Centre has outstanding facilities following capital investments worth over £30 million in recent years including a bioprocess pilot plant and a suite of laboratory automation platforms. There is also wide access to other resources across UCL; one of the world’s top universities which was rated first in the UK in terms of ‘research strength’ in REF2014. Research and industrial grant income currently stands at over £60M and supports over 160 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers. Major strategic investments include the £10M EPSRC Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub, the £7M EPSRC/DoH Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub, Vax Hub, the £5.5M EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Bioprocess Engineering Leadership, and a partnership in the £10M EPSRC/BBSRC Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub.