University College London

Key persons: Dr Nicolas Szita

General description

The UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering has state-of-the-art bioprocessing and microfluidics facilities. Research includes the processing of potential therapeutic proteins and plasmid genes and their complexes, control of metabolic pathways, regenerative medicine bioprocessing, and finally the application of micro-scale and cutting-edge microfluidics to these fields. Dr N Szita pioneered the creation of parallelised microfluidic bioreactors for suspension cultures with in-situ and real-time culture variable monitoring and is investigating the collection of enzyme kinetic data at the microfluidic scale.


UCL will lead WP7, host 1 ESR and 1 ER, provide network-wide training activities (organization of Meeting 3, WP4), participate in exchanges and chair the Training Supervisory Board (TSB). Furthermore, UCL provides polymer micro fabrication know-how to the consortium, and build and characterize chemo-enzymatic microfluidic platforms.

Key competences and facilities

Design, fabrication and characterization of microfluidic systems for bioprocessing with integrated sensors for the non-invasive detection of physico-chemical variables. Microfabrication of devices made out of soft and hard polymers, silicon and glass; characterisation of devices with fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopic imaging methods for reaction monitoring. Competences from the BiCE programme (see funding below) includes a range of new biocatalytic routes to chiral amino-alcohols involving evolved transketolase (TK) enzymes, a library of transaminases (TAm) and cellular biocatatysts incorporating de novo engineered TK-TAm pathways, and numeric concepts for rapid kinetic model creation. For synthetic and analytical work, a new 700 MHz NMR spectrometer, LC- and MALDI-MS instruments for rapid and quantitative analysis are available.