Why are you interested in biomanufacturing?
I specialise in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. These are predominantly complex recombinant proteins produced by engineered host cells in culture, which are utilised to successfully treat serious diseases as they offer major therapeutic advantages (e.g. high specificity, affinity and biocompatibility) over conventional small molecule drugs. However, they are relatively expensive to make and due to their inherent complexity they pose enormous challenges in their development, production, formulation and storage.
In order to make the potentially enormous therapeutic benefits of biopharmaceuticals a reality, multidisciplinary groups of scientists and engineers have to develop a safe and viable manufacturing process in each case. In fact, it is often said within the biopharmaceutical industry that “the product is the process”. In my view, it is this requirement for solution-focused multidisciplinarity that makes industry-linked research in bioprocessing so relevant, diverse and exciting. Few areas of bioscience-based research offer the opportunity to work so interactively with industrial colleagues, where we aim to develop technologies that can really speed the delivery of new, more potent medicines to the clinic. I aim to work both with colleagues in industry and at Sheffield to provide a source of young scientists/engineers trained in a flexible, interdisciplinary approach to bioprocess research and development. We can provide research and training at a variety of levels of expertise or academic attainment; from undergraduate courses designed to teach general principles to advanced post-doctoral research targeted at the development of disruptive new technologies. Many of the people who have worked in my laboratory now work in the biopharmaceutical industry.