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Innovative 3-D printed chromatography design combined with high-throughput Raman spectroscopy to streamline therapeutic purification

   Department of Biochemical Engineering

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  Dr Stephen Goldrick  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Keywords: Chromatography/3-D printing/ modelling/ purification/biochemical engineering/ pharmaceutical/ cell culture/ Biomanufacturing/ Biotechnology

About the Project

The Department of Biochemical Engineering, UCL, is inviting applications for one full EPSRC Engineering Doctorate (EngD) studentship.

The studentship holder will be under the supervision of Dr Stephen Goldrick (UCL) and Dr Steven Fergeruson (UCD) and will split their time between the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering within UCL in London and at the School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering with UCD in Dublin.  


About: Chromatography unit operations now accounts for almost 80% of drug development manufacturing costs and selecting the optimum process operation set-points typically involves laborious experimental work involving large amounts of expensive resin and requires high volumes of biotherapeutic proteins.


Project Context and Objectives:

The primary objective is to develop and model an automated scale-down chromatography system with in-built analytics to simplify product purification and speed up drug development timelines


Outputs and Impacts:

The objective of this project will be to design, print, model and experimentally validate a scale-down 3-D printed chromatography column with unique internal flow paths. The device will enable the evaluation of a wide range of critical process parameters such as dynamic binding capacity, load and elute pH conditions and different resin types all within a single experimental pass whilst requiring a log-fold reduction in sample material. Although scale-down chromatography systems have been built in the past [1] one of the key aspects of this approach will be the integration of a novel high-throughput analytics (i.e Raman spectroscopy device) enabling near-real time information to predict the key critical quality attributes e.g. aggregation and fragment concentrations. This proposal will take advantage of the highly sophisticated 3-D printer facilities [2] and fundamental expertise held at UCD supported by advanced analytics and expertise within NIBRT. In addition to leveraging UCL's domain expertise in therapeutic manufacturing and utilising available equipment to support the high-throughput analytics[3] and experimentation within this proposal.

Deliverables and Timeline:

·        Build an automation strategy for development chromatography processes (year 1)

·        Enhance, troubleshoot, verify and experimental validate developed prototypes (year 2-3).

·        Validate the system for multiple therapeutic modalities (year 2-3)

·        Build platform to automate collection of experimental results and process analytics (year 3)

·        Experimentally validate small-scale process models with large-scale systems (year 3-4)

·        Summarise results, write thesis, and publish papers (year 4)



[1] Scale-down chromatograph:

[2] 3-D printed reactors:

[3] HT-Raman spectroscopy:

About UCL Biochemical Engineering:

UCL Biochemical Engineering Department is a hub of multi-disciplinary academics, entrepreneurs and students, combining design experimentation with scientific methods, seeking new modes of simulation and production, and exploring how advances in the fields of synthetic biology, material science and digital fabrication are changing future biomanufacturing practices.

Applicant requirements:

Applications are invited for a funded 4-year PhD studentship in the UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering, starting September 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Goldrick at UCL and Dr. Steven Ferguson at UCD. Candidates must have a strong BSc (1st or 2:1) or Master’s degree in Biochemical Engineering or related field. They must have excellent written and verbal communication skills in English, strong work ethic and the ability to think creatively and independently. Knowledge of chromatography, 3-D printing and programming skills are desirable.


UCL actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. We strongly encourage applications from those who are currently under-represented within our research student community: BAME British applicants, applicants with disabilities and older applicants.


The start date for this studentship is 27 September 2021. 

How to apply

To apply for this studentship, please send your max. two-page CV and cover letter by email to Dr. Stephen Goldrick: [Email Address Removed]  , project supervisor to arrive no later than 23:59 on the 6th of August 2021. In addition to this, you must submit your formal application through UCL’s Application portal for the EngD in Biochemical Engineering and Bioprocess Leadership course for 21/22 entry. More information about the application process is available on the department’s website:

Funding Notes

This EPSRC CDT studentship is available to UK and Overseas (including EU) students. The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax-free stipend for four years. Annual stipend for 2021/22: £17,609 + £2,800 industry top-up (subject to contract). UCL will cover the Home/Overseas fees difference for successful overseas candidates.
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