Alumnus Tim Oakley (MA, MBA, FIChemE) gave a career talk in department on ‘Chemical Engineering – Without the Chemicals’ on Thursday 27 February 2014
Tim graduated in Chemical Engineering at Cambridge back in 1981, then spent 6 years at Kodak, 7 years at Celltech, 7 years at Raytheon Engineers & Constructors’ and the last 12 years at ‘Scitech’, a company he co-founded in 2002 - a highly specialised and skilled business offering a full range of engineering, construction and professional services, specifically designed and packaged to suit the needs of the life science sectors. As a Process Consultant at SciTech Engineering he has been working primarily in the Pharmaceutical Process Industries - including Biotechnology, Clean Utilities (particularly Purified Water and WFI). More recently he has been doing a substantial amount of work in the PET Nuclear Medicine field, particularly the process engineering aspects of PET facility design. He has particular expertise and experience in the design of Radionuclide delivery systems between cyclotrons, hot cells and scanners.
With 30 years’ experience in the Hygienic and Life Sciences Industries Tim has worked in many of these sectors and emphasised how chemical engineering can be applied in the Photographic, Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, Nuclear Medicine and other Industries. He explained how Chemical Engineering is usually closely associated with the Oil & Gas Industry, Petrochemicals or the mainstream Chemical Industries. Many of the processes use hazardous, toxic and/or flammable chemicals at high temperatures & pressures, with all the associated safety requirements.
However, he added that there are many other career pathways for Chemical Engineers such as Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, The Food, Drink & Dairy sectors and a variety of other less obvious areas. Many of these processes are aqueous based, at low temperatures and pressure, and mainly dealing with non-hazardous chemicals.
Out of the many projects he’s been involved with, he highlighted the use engineering skills in Nuclear Medicine for cancer sufferers. In nuclear medicine procedures, radiopharmaceuticals, once administered to the patient, can localise to specific organs or cellular receptors. This property allows nuclear medicine the ability to image the extent of a disease process in the body. In particular Tim has led PET Projects (Positron Emission Tomography) where patients are dosed with isotopes and then scanned to see what's there.