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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

First graduating MPhil in Biotechnology student cohort

Our MPhil in Biotechnology 2018-19 course came to an official close last week with the first student cohort presenting their work at the course symposium.

The programme, launched last October, offers an interdisciplinary curriculum to physical scientists and engineers who want to learn biotechnology and apply their strong analytical skills to solve problems in biological sciences.  

The seven students of the programme closed the academic year giving their individual and team research project presentations. In their individual research projects, which ran throughout the year from October until June, the students worked on a range of topics, from computational biology and bioinformatics to the development of nanobeads for water remediation, polymeric prosthetic heart valves, supramolecular nano-vehicles for targeted drug delivery, and multivariate predictive models for process analytics. For their team project, the students spent the summer at AstraZeneca in Granta Park, working on predictive development of complex biopharmaceuticals.

Dr Chris van der Walle, Director-Fellow at AstraZeneca said: “This was the first time that our laboratory scientists have supervised two teams of postgraduate MPhil students and the feedback has been positive. We will be using the data the students have generated to progress our efforts in bringing biologic medicines based on messenger RNA or bispecific antibodies to patients”.

As part of the team project, the students also worked on an outreach challenge, developing didactic material explaining key concepts of the workings of a cell, including a booklet and a mix-and-match game for young kids and the students were greatly supported in this task by George Cronin from the Office of Scholarly Communication. The booklet and the game aim to demonstrate biotechnology concepts to the general public in a visual and engaging way, and they will be offered to the public at the next Cambridge Science festival at CEB in March 2020.

“A special thanks to the glorious seven, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you, you’ve all been fantastic from the start,” said Dr Gabi Kaminski, Course Director, addressing the MPhil students. 

Many contributors from our department, other departments across the University and industry, including companies such as AstraZeneca and GSK, have provided invaluable support, without which the course would not have run successfully. Our MPhil in Biotechnology students are now taking their next career steps, with some moving on to further study in medicine or through research PhDs, and others entering consultancy and industry.  We wish them every success in their future ventures.

Find out more about our MPhil in Biotechnology course and how to apply for future programmes. Admissions for entry in October 2020 opened on 2 September.

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