UCL Biochemical Engineering PG Beaker Society – Ask Us Anything!

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BeakerSociety
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Hey everyone! We're the Postgraduate Society of Biochemical Engineering in UCL here to answer any questions from MRes, MSc, PhD or EngD students preparing to join us in September. So, ask us anything! Your questions could be about how the courses are, what we do as a society or what life in the department, UCL and amazing London is like! September is creeping up on us and we can’t wait to meet you!

On hand and ready to answer your questions are:
Tom (President) from UK, did his BEng Chemical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, before his MSc in Biochemical Engineering here at UCL. He is a current EngD Research Engineer focusing on therapeutic protein degradation in bioprocessing.

Alex (VP) from US, did his undergraduate in Chemical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana, before his MSc in Life Science and Technology (Biochemical Engineering) at TU Delft, Netherlands. He is a current PhD focusing on control systems for continuous chromatography.

Patricia (Secretary) from Spain, did her MEng in Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London before coming to UCL as a current EngD Research Engineer. She works in between the Department and Royal Freeman Hospital, focusing on 3D bio-printing treatments for arthritis.

Elizabeth (Treasurer) from UK, did her BSc in Biochemistry also at Imperial College London before coming to UCL to do an MSc in Biochemical Engineering. She is a current PhD focusing on developing chromatography ligands for mAb separation.

Catarina (Social Media Officer) from Portugal, did her integrated Masters in Biological Engineering at Instituto Superior Technico, Portugal. She spent 2 years in industry, Delft, before coming to UCL to do her PhD focusing on an economical and environment evaluation of continuous biomanufacturing.

Annabel (Communications) from Wales, did her BEng in Biochemical Engineering at UCL and is a current EngD Research Engineer focusing on portfolio management and economic analysis of viral vector manufacturing.


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Biochemical Engineering ucl.ac.uk/biochemical-engineering/
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biochemical.ucl
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You can find them all here:
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/biochemical-en...kers-committee
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hello654321
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I have a couple questions, firstly, would you recommend this to someone who is doing biomedical science and would like to work in pharmaceutical companies?
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BeakerSociety
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Hi there! Tom here. Absolutely. There are a number of biomedical postgraduate students here and if you’re interested in the MSc BiochemEng course you’ll find others with a many different science and engineering backgrounds.The department has very close ties to a number of pharma companies. Industrialists often come to the department to attend short-courses (MBIs) along with students here, allowing a chance to mingle and network. Even most of the modules you may do are put together with industry in mind making sure that you graduate with the skills industry wants to employ.
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hello654321
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(Original post by BeakerSociety)
Hi there! Tom here. Absolutely. There are a number of biomedical postgraduate students here and if you’re interested in the MSc BiochemEng course you’ll find others with a many different science and engineering backgrounds.The department has very close ties to a number of pharma companies. Industrialists often come to the department to attend short-courses (MBIs) along with students here, allowing a chance to mingle and network. Even most of the modules you may do are put together with industry in mind making sure that you graduate with the skills industry wants to employ.
That’s good to hear! I had a look at the modules offered for the scientist stream and engineer stream and was confused slightly, as I saw that the engineers learn vaccine development but the scientists don’t? I thought it should be the opposite as I have studied immunology for a good while?
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BeakerSociety
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(Original post by hello654321)
That’s good to hear! I had a look at the modules offered for the scientist stream and engineer stream and was confused slightly, as I saw that the engineers learn vaccine development but the scientists don’t? I thought it should be the opposite as I have studied immunology for a good while?
Great point! So the idea of the streams is to ensure graduates have all the skills of a ‘Biochemical Engineer’ and also hold a degree accredited by the IChemE. So people with a heavy biological background will be able to study engineering principles, such as heat transfer, reaction engineering, reactor design etc. I was a chemical engineer with little biology experience, so I was in the ‘science stream‘ to study the biological side, like immunology, molecular and synthetic biology. You may not be able to ‘officially’ do vaccine development as part of the degree, but I knew some students who would sit in the lectures out of interest!
I’d recommend taking a look at the MSc Cell and Gene Therapy - it’s a brand new course more on the biology side and has a lot of interest considering where the industry is going!
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hello654321
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(Original post by BeakerSociety)
Great point! So the idea of the streams is to ensure graduates have all the skills of a ‘Biochemical Engineer’ and also hold a degree accredited by the IChemE. So people with a heavy biological background will be able to study engineering principles, such as heat transfer, reaction engineering, reactor design etc. I was a chemical engineer with little biology experience, so I was in the ‘science stream‘ to study the biological side, like immunology, molecular and synthetic biology. You may not be able to ‘officially’ do vaccine development as part of the degree, but I knew some students who would sit in the lectures out of interest!
I’d recommend taking a look at the MSc Cell and Gene Therapy - it’s a brand new course more on the biology side and has a lot of interest considering where the industry is going!
That makes sense! Okay I will check out this new degree, I have so many courses now that I may do I’ll add this new one to the list to haha. I was wondering whether it matters if a degree is accredited or not, It won’t affect my chances or gaining a job will it?
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biochemical.ucl
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(Original post by hello654321)
That makes sense! Okay I will check out this new degree, I have so many courses now that I may do I’ll add this new one to the list to haha. I was wondering whether it matters if a degree is accredited or not, It won’t affect my chances or gaining a job will it?
It's a really exciting area, in fact, the team that are about to start teaching it gave a taster lecture a couple of months ago if you're interested in the subject:
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/biochemical-en...aster-lectures
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hello654321
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(Original post by biochemical.ucl)
It's a really exciting area, in fact, the team that are about to start teaching it gave a taster lecture a couple of months ago if you're interested in the subject:
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/biochemical-en...aster-lectures
Thanks I’ll take a look, I’ll come back here for more questions 🤣
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hello654321
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Can a science graduate take the engineer stream?
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biochemical.ucl
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(Original post by hello654321)
Can a science graduate take the engineer stream?
Hi. I'd suggest getting in touch with the programme director, Alex. He's great and always happy to answer any questions. Email him direct and he'll let you know. Let us know if you need anything else.
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BeakerSociety
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(Original post by hello654321)
That makes sense! Okay I will check out this new degree, I have so many courses now that I may do I’ll add this new one to the list to haha. I was wondering whether it matters if a degree is accredited or not, It won’t affect my chances or gaining a job will it?
Sorry for my late response! An accredited degree would certainly help if you’re planning an engineering career. IChemE is globally recognised and the accreditation sets a standard benchmark for degrees to meet. It’ll help you get Chartered at which point I’ve heard people use it to secure higher salaries in positions 😉 All of the streams in the MSc allow you to become a ‘member’ of the IChemE, I believe. I’ve been with them for 6 years now and have been able to attend industry networking events and other events/seminars, so at the least you could dazzle employers with industry knowledge haha
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nwilliamson151
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(Original post by biochemical.ucl)
Hi. I'd suggest getting in touch with the programme director, Alex. He's great and always happy to answer any questions. Email him direct and he'll let you know. Let us know if you need anything else.
(Original post by hello654321)
Can a science graduate take the engineer stream?
I have the same question, where can I find his email?
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hello654321
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(Original post by nwilliamson151)
I have the same question, where can I find his email?
I emailed them and they replied saying the admission tutor decides but they will discuss this with us
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nwilliamson151
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(Original post by hello654321)
I emailed them and they replied saying the admission tutor decides but they will discuss this with us
Thanks
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biochemical.ucl
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You can get hold of Alex at [email protected] but, sadly, he's leaving us at the end of this month. I'd suggest copying in the general shared email [email protected] just to be on the safe side.
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