skip to content

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


The MBE Programme is based at and managed by faculty of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, with the expert guidance of industry sector specialists, each of whom takes responsibility for the design of specific taught modules.

Cambridge is the home of Europe's largest biotech cluster and the course draws heavily on the expertise of executives from local and national businesses, many of whom have strong interest in furthering the education of the next generation of life science business development talent and bio-entrepreneurs. Each year over 100 experts from industry and academia engage with the course, providing scientific, technical and managerial insights through their lectures, as well as a diversity of practical case examples and internship opportunities for MBE students. The course is further enhanced by specialist input from the University’s academic researchers, many of whom also have significant business experience.


MBE Faculty        Senior Faculty        Senior Associates        Enterprise Fellows



Senior Faculty


Dr Katherine Smart, MBE Academic Lead

Katherine Smart is a University Lecturer in Brewing and Distilling Sciences. Her research interests include yeast cell biology, fermentation sciences, brewing and distilling sciences, raw material supply chains, lignocellulosic conversion to biofuels and biorefining.

Katherine, who holds a PhD in Fermentation and Brewing Science, a DSc by publication in Brewing and Distilling Sciences and an LLD, is a Fellow of three learned societies. She is also a Professor of the University of Nottingham and the current President of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

During her 20 years in academia she has held fellowships and academic positions including a post doctoral researcher role in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge and a Royal Society Industrial Fellowship. More recently she was the Head of the School of Biosciences and the SABMiller Professor of Brewing Sciences at the University of Nottingham until 2012. She then joined SABMiller PLC as Global Chief Brewer and subsequently held senior executive and Vice President roles in supply chain in SABMiller and ABInBev respectively. In 2017, Katherine co-founded The Surrey Copper Distillery Limited, where she will continue to hold the advisory role of Distiller and Botanist.



Professor Nigel K.H. Slater FREng, FIChemE

Nigel is a Fellow and former President of Fitzwilliam College in the University of Cambridge. He is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and was formerly Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Regional Affairs and Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Chemical Engineers and is a Chartered Engineer. 

Nigel has research interests in the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals including proteins, DNA, viruses and cells. He was awarded the Donald Medal by the Institution of Chemical Engineers for services to Biochemical Engineering and is Qiushi Chair Professor at the University of Zhejiang, China.

Nigel has previously worked in bio-manufacturing for Unilever Research in the Netherlands and Wellcome Research in the UK and was a non-executive director of Cobra Bio-Manufacturing plc from its IPO in 2002 until its acquisition in 2010. He was Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Science, Innovation and Industry Council and has been a board member of the GCGP Local Enterprise Partnership, the Greater Cambridge City Deal Executive Board and of Cambridge Enterprise Ltd.



Senior Associates


Dr Cathy Prescott

Dr Cathy Prescott brings over 20 years of experience in research, management and business within the life-science and venture capital sectors.  She is the Founder Director of Biolatris Ltd. a specialist biotech-consultancy and co-founder director of Quartet Innovation Partners Ltd which develops innovative financial products for the healthcare sector. She is also a non-executive director for the regenerative medicine company Videregen and an advisory board member to Trakcel Ltd and to the WPI Life Sciences committee (US). Cathy is a respected opinion leader within the stem cell and regenerative medicine business sector, and co-editor of the book ‘The Delivery of Regenerative Medicines and their Impact on Healthcare’.

Prior to Biolatris, Cathy spent seven years as a director for the venture capital firm Avlar BioVentures and was a non-executive director to several portfolio companies. She was formerly head of drug discovery at Ribotargets Ltd and assistant director and group leader for SmithKline Beecham. Cathy held post-doctoral fellowships at Max Delbruick Centre for Molecular Medicine and Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, both in Berlin, and Brown University, USA. Cathy holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford.



Dr David Hampton

David is a biomedical research scientist and entrepreneur in medical device innovation and global business development.  David is founder and CTO of CamStent Ltd, an MBE programme spinout, and the managing partner at Acacia Designs BV and Stone Bridge Biomedical BV.  He was preciously an elected Research Director and Fellow at Medtronic’s Bakken Research Center in Maastricht, and is a founding member of the medical design partnership bioMRC.

His academic background includes the MBE, with distinction, a certificate in management science from Stanford University, doctorate and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in physics and applied mathematics from Vanderbilt University.



Keiron Sparrowhawk

With 36 years of biopharmaceutical industry and consulting experience, Keiron is an acknowledged global drug development, pricing and market access expert.  He is also a successful entrepreneur and in 2012 sold the healthcare strategy consultancy PriceSpective, a company he founded and guided for almost ten years, to ICON plc.  Since then he has expanded his other business interests in therapeutic development and in personal growth companies, notably following his absolute passion for improving cognitive health when he founded MyCognition.

Keiron initiated the department’s Biopharmaceutical Market Access and Pricing Strategy professional practice programme, and in 2011-12 led the UK Chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organisation, an association encompassing more than 8,000 entrepreneurs worldwide.



Maximilian Ge

Maximilian holds an MSc in International Strategy and Economics from the University of St Andrews and has a background in maths and computer science . Prior to joining the Department, he worked at the Cambridge Judge Business School Entrepreneurship Centre on Accelerate Cambridge and other entrepreneurship programmes.

Maximilian conducted research into business models of hi-tech and biotech companies at the Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge University Engineering Department. He supervises students in theoretical computer science, design and business studies at the Department of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Technology (Computer Laboratory). Maximilian worked on startups in tech and media in the UK and Germany.

Maximilian is an active member of the wider Cambridge tech and enterprise innovation ecosystem. He served as President of the Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC), Chair of the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE), Head of Business Development of the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge (EPOC) and is a founding member and trustee of Hack Cambridge.



Dr Stephen Capsaskis

Stephen has been working in venture capital for almost 20 years, first at a major Greek VC firm as head of its Technology Investments Group, leading technology and internet investments in Greece, Ireland and the US West Coast, and then as Partner in a small independent VC fund investing in technology and telecoms businesses based in SE Europe.

Prior to that, he worked in London in commercial banking for a decade and, before that, at a start-up industrial software company (a spin-off from a major UK university), where he first saw what venture capital is all about.

Stephen holds MEng and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering from Cambridge University and is a non-executive director of a major Athens-listed investment group and an Athens-based think tank.