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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


There are over 30 people involved in the delivery of the MPhil in Biotechnology, including the programme management team, academic supervisors and lecturers, and the programme’s Strategic Committee.

Programme Management

The programme is managed and administered by Gabriele Kaminski Schierle and Raquel Costa, who you should contact if you have any questions about the programme, the application process or industry engagement.


Gabriele Kaminski Schierle, Programme director
Gabi is a lecturer in Molecular Biotechnology, the head of the Molecular Neuroscience Group, and co-director of the Cambridge Infinitus Research Centre. As the director of the MPhil in Biotechnology, she is devoted to providing the best training for the future biotech leaders. Gabi studied biology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and did her PhD in Medicine on neural transplantation in Parkinson's disease at Lund University in Sweden. She has since set-up a centre for the application of modern biophysical methods for the study of the molecular mechanisms causing neurodegenerative diseases. Gabi loves to ski with her family, is very European, enjoys art, neuroscience and theatre.






Raquel Costa, Programme manager
Raquel gained her PhD from the University of Cambridge working with Professor Geoff Moggridge in the Structured Materials group. She was then a researcher and a lecturer at the University of Coimbra before relocating to Cambridge in 2015. In her research, Raquel merged her background in chemical engineering with biological and environmental sciences to focus on the problem of invasive biofouling bivalves. She also has a longstanding interest in the interface between higher education and the labour market, and has been involved with the EFCE in efforts to develop chemical engineering education in the face of new employment challenges. Prior to joining the MPhil in Biotechnology, Raquel worked at the University's Institute of Continuing Education as an analyst supporting the development of new programmes. She loves to travel and read, but when she is not at work, she will probably be with her two little rascals baking with too much brown sugar or crafting with too much glitter (and hopefully not the other way round).


Teaching and project supervision

The academics listed below are involved in the MPhil in Biotechnology through teaching, project supervision, mentoring and/or by supporting the development of the programme. Please note that the list is not fixed as staff availability may be subject to change due to new appointments, sabbatical leave, sick leave or other unforeseen circumstances.

Sebastian Ahnert


Sabine Bahn

Somenath Bakshi
Department of Engineering


Sarah Bohndiek
Department of Physics

Graham Christie


Ljiljana Fruk




Lisa Hall



Jim Haseloff
Department of Plant Sciences

Florian Hollfelder
Department of Biochemistry


Chris Howe
Department of Biochemistry


Laura Itzhaki
Department of Pharmacology


Janet Kumita
Department of Pharmacology
Ross King


Kathryn Lilley
Department of Biochemistry

Ben Luisi
Department of Biochemistry


Mick Mantle

Gos Micklem
Department of Genetics


Geoff Moggridge


Róisín Owens



Olivier Restif
Department of Veterinary Medicine

Steve Russel
Department of Genetics


Alison Smith
Department of Plant Sciences

Sam Stranks



Graham Treece
Department of Engineering

Axel Zeitler 

Strategic Committee

A committee composed of academics and industry representatives with varied expertise and research interests contributes to the strategic management of the programme. Below is a list of the current members of the programme’s Strategic Committee, where the Programme Director and the Programme Manager also sit:

Alison Smith: She is Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Head of the Department of Plant Sciences. Alison's research group focuses on several aspects of the metabolism of plants, algae and bacteria, in particular vitamin and cofactor biosynthesis, using synthetic biology approaches to develop algae as novel production platforms for high value products. She is the Director of the Algal Innovation Centre, a facility that allows growth of algae at scale under natural conditions in collaboration with industry.
Andy Sederman. He is Reader in Magnetic Resonance in Engineering and the Deputy Head of Department for teaching matters at CEB. Andy's research interests lie in the development and application of magnetic resonance methods to process and reaction engineering, in particular the understanding of multi-component reaction, diffusion and flow processes.

Annette Alcasabas: She is a Lead Scientist at Johnson Matthey. She has a background in microbial genetics and is interested in technologies that improve commercial enzyme production, enzyme discovery and protein engineering.
Chris Howe. He is Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Group Leader at the Department of Biochemistry. His group's overall research theme is the biochemistry and molecular evolution of photosynthetic organisms. One of the group's achievements has been the discovery of a novel cytochrome in plants and green algae (cytochrome c6A), whose function they are still investigating. Their research interests also extend to the manipulation of algae photosynthetic machinery for the production of renewable energy as well as chloroplast genome and its evolution.

Clemens Kaminski: He is Professor of Chemical Physics and Head of Department in CEB. His group develops advanced photonic technologies for the study of molecular mechanisms of disease. He has published more than 200 papers, serves on numerous scientific advisory boards, and is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America.  

Gos Micklem: He is Director of the Cambridge Computational Biology Institute, based in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Gos is also a member of the Department of Genetics where his group is based, with interests in integrative genomics, through the InterMine project, and in synthetic biology.

Graham Christie: He is a Senior Lecturer at CEB, where he also leads the Molecular Microbiology Group. As a microbiologist, Graham is particularly interested in bacterial spore germination processes, which his group investigates at the molecular level using a range of approaches, including genetic, biochemical, crystallographic and advanced imaging techniques. 

Jim Haseloff: He is a Professor at the Department of Plant Sciences and Head of the Synthetic Biology and Reprogramming of Plant Systems Group. With a history of research in plant viroids, RNA enzymes and engineering approaches to plant development, Jim is currently interested in simple open systems for plant synthetic biology. Jim is Chair of the Steering Committee of the Synthetic Biology Interdisciplinary Research Centre.

Kathryn Chapman: She is the Deputy Director of the Milner Therapeutics Institute. Prior to joining the Institute, Kathryn was Head of Innovation and Translation at NC3Rs. She holds an honorary professorship with the University of Coventry, where she sits on the Vice-Chancellors Advisory Group for industry/academic engagement. As a researcher at the University of Manchester, Harvard Medical School, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and GlaxoSmithKline, she focused on the genetics of osteoarthritis and transgenic models for drug development and disease modelling.

Kathryn Lilley: She is the Professor of Cellular Dynamics at the Department of Biochemistry, where she also directs the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics. Her research programme aims to create and apply technology to measure the dynamics of the proteome and transcriptome in high throughput in space and time during critical cellular processes. Her group has also contributed with many open-source informatics tools to efficiently mine and visualise the complex data produced by spatiotemporal proteomics studies. She has published more than 250 peer reviewed papers. In 2017 she was the recipient of the Juan Pablo Albar Proteome Pioneer Award from the European Proteomics Association, and in 2018 she received the HUPO Distinguished Achievements in Proteomics award. She was elected as a member of EMBO in July 2020.

Ljiljana Fruk: She is a Reader in BioNano Engineering at CEB. With a background in chemistry, biospectroscopy and nanotechnology, Ljiljana leads the BioNano Engineering Group, and she is interested in the use of bio and nanoelements to design materials for catalysis, drug delivery and tissue engineering.

Namshik Han: He is the Head of Computational Biology and Artificial Intelligence at the Milner Therapeutics Institute. After obtaining a PhD in Machine Learning and Computational Biology from the University of Manchester, Namshik has been a researcher at Samsung, back at the University of Manchester, and at the University of Cambridge, where he is now leading the computational biology and artificial intelligence strand at the Milner Therapeutics Institute.

Rob Clemmitt: He is Vice President, Head of Cell & Gene Therapy (CGT) Medicine & Process Delivery (MPD) in Medicinal Science & Technology (MST) in R&D at GlaxoSmithKline. In this role, he leads the CMC/supply chain leaders responsible for global projects from candidate selection to commercialisation. He also supports the development of the vector, cell, formulation and testing approaches and the autologous supply chains for the TCR-T assets. He is also leader to the global MPD team for the aSARS-CoV-2 mAbs (VIR-7831 & 2, anti-spike protein mAbs) that are being developed in collaboration with VIR Biotechnology. He has 25 years experience of medicine research, development, registration and commercialisation, including cell and gene therapies, biopharmaceuticals and small molecules. He holds a PhD, an MA and a BA in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge.

Róisín Owens: She is a Professor and the Head of the Bioelectronic Systems Technology Group at CEB. Her current research interests lie on the application of organic electronic materials for monitoring biological systems in vitro, with an emphasis on the gut-brain-microbiome axis. Róisín has received several awards, including the ERC starting (2011), proof of concept (2014) and consolidator (2016) grants, a Marie Curie fellowship, and an EMBO fellowship.

Sara Serradas Duarte: She is the Research Strategy Manager of Cambridge Global Challenges (CGC). Sara has a background in life sciences – she studied biotechnology and microbiology in Portugal and France and neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. Having grown up in Mozambique, she has always had a strong commitment to advancing the contribution of University-generated knowledge to development priorities in low-income countries. This is achieved at CGC through the mobilization of academic (STEM and AHSS) and cross-sectoral (e.g. policy-making, civil society, business) expertise in research programmes co-developed with colleagues in the Global South. Prior to joining CGC, Sara founded secondGO, a social start up that extends the educational opportunities of university students to others, and worked as a Business Analyst and Educational Content Developer for WaterScope, a Cambridge-based start-up that combats water inequality through a 3D printed water-testing microscope. 

Steve Russell: He is a Professor and Head of Department in the Department of Genetics. Steve's lab explores aspects of transcriptional regulation and chromatin architecture at a genome wide scale in Drosophila. His group has a long-standing commitment to the provision of community resources for the fly, and they have contributed to several resource projects including DrosDel, FlyChip and modENCODE. Steve is involved in the Grand Challenges in Global Health programme to develop novel methods of controlling the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae.