Innovation & Enterprise


Innovative UCL academic named among top influencers in medicine

6 July 2020

Dr Qasim Rafiq has been included in the prestigious 2020 Power List of influential scientists by The Medicine Maker publication.

Dr Qasim Rafiq

The Power List includes Nobel laureates, multi-national CEOs and leading researchers who are ‘driving the industry forward and saving lives by developing new medicines’, according to The Medicine Maker.

Dr Qasim Rafiq (UCL Biochemical Engineering) is one of a highly select group of just 20 global influencers in the ‘Advanced Medicine’ category. 

Bridging disciplines for innovation

Working at the intersection between biology, chemistry and engineering, Qasim focuses on the biomanufacture of advanced therapeutics, including regenerative, cellular and gene-based therapy.

This includes the entire ‘bioprocess’ from sourcing raw materials and cells, through to cell expansion in bioreactors and the downstream processing needed to purify and concentrate cell product for delivery to the patient. 

Much of Qasim’s activity is in close collaboration with industry partners. In a recent interview he said: “In order to continue to develop new therapeutic and healthcare interventions we need to ensure improved industry, academic and clinical collaborations.”

Driving knowledge exchange in advanced medicine

Working closely with UCL Innovation & Enterprise, Qasim is Principal Investigator (PI) on two Knowledge Exchange Projects (KTPs).

In collaboration with Biovault Technical Limited, one project is developing a scalable and reproducible manufacturing platform for research-grade stem cells and therapeutic small molecules. This KTP is part-funded by Innovate UK.

Commenting on the recent Power List accolade, Biovault said: “We’re not surprised that Qasim was part of this esteemed group. His energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the advancement of cell and gene therapies are the reasons we have chosen to collaborate with him on two research projects using stem cells from the umbilical cord, as we look to collectively expedite patient access to these transformative therapies.”

Another KTP project, due to start in September, is with Aber Instruments Limited. This project aims to develop new dielectric impedance spectroscopy techniques (an online tool to monitor cells) which will improve the cost efficiency and performance of cell therapy product manufacture.

Natalie Gough, Programme Manager: KTP and Enterprise Secondments at UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “Qasim is a prolific and engaging innovator, absolutely committed to translating fundamental science to clinical use for the benefit of society. We will continue supporting him on this ongoing journey, and look forward to seeing him achieve even more in the future in the research and innovation space.” 


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Photo © UCL Biochemical Engineering