skip to content

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


A Strategic Committee composed of academics and industry representatives with varied expertise and research interests contributes to the management of the programme. The current members of the Strategic Committee are listed below.

Patrick Barrie. He is a senior lecturer and the Deputy Head of Department for teaching matters at CEB. With a background in chemistry, Patrick's research interests lie in catalysis and mass transfer processes.

Kathryn Chapman. She is the Executive Manager 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.

Graham Christie. He is a 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.

Damian Crowther. He is Director for R&D at AstraZeneca, where he is managing neuroscience projects from conception to early clinical trials, with a focus on neurodegeneration. Previously, Damian was on a similar capacity at MedImmune and has been a principal investigator at the University of Cambridge researching on the molecular pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders.

John Dennis. He is Professor of Chemical Reaction Engineering and Head of Department at CEB. John leads the Combustion Group. His research focuses on the sustainable generation of energy by combustion and gasification of fossil and renewable fuels.

Duygu Dikicioglu. She is a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow at CEB, affiliated with the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre. Duygu works on model-based analysis of biological systems and bioprocess engineering, with a focus on process development for biopharmaceuticals.

Ljiljana Fruk. She is a lecturer 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.

Markus Gershater. He is cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer at Synthace, having a strong interest in robust engineering of biological processes. As a biochemist, Markus has previously been a researcher at UCL, Novacta Biosystems and Durham University

Namshik Han. He is the Computational Biology Programme Leader 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 strand at the Milner Therapeutics Institute.

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 for the Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative, established in 2013 to advance cross-disciplinary research within the University.

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.

Kathryn Lilley. She is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry. She is also the Director of the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics, whose aim is the development of robust proteomics technology to be applied in a variety of biological questions, as well as the Director of the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre. In 2017, Kathryn received the Juan Pablo Albar Proteome Pioneer award from the European Proteomics Association and the Silver Level Thermo Scientific Tandem Mass Tag (TMT) Research Award.

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, and his research group is based in the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, with interests in integrative genomics through the InterMine project.

Róisín Owens. She is a lecturer 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.

Steve Russell. He is a professor and head of group at the Department of Genetics and the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre. 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.

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.

Paul Varley. He is Vice President for Science and Collaborations and Biopharmaceutical Development at MedImmune. Before joining MedImmune (formerly Cambridge Antibody Technology, CAT), Paul was Head of Protein Science at British Biotech. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the UK National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, a member of the Advisory Board for the UCL EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies, Chair of the British Pharmacopeia Expert Advisory Group on biological and biotechnological products, and a member of the European Pharmacopeia Expert Committee on Monoclonal Antibodies.

Chris van der Walle. He is a Fellow at MedImmune. Previously, Chris has conducted research at King's College London and University of Oxford before taking up lectureships in pharmaceutical biology at the Universities of Bath and later Strathclyde. His research interests lie on protein biophysics, bioprocessing and controlled delivery of nucleic acid-based drugs.