Chris J. Hewitt
Professor of Biological Engineering
Chris graduated with a first class honours degree in Microbiology from Royal Holloway College, University of London in 1990. He then went to the University of Birmingham to study for his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering. He is now Professor of Biological Engineering at Loughborough University where his research seeks to study the interaction of the organism with the process engineering environment using such non-invasive techniques as flow cytometry, image analysis and NIR spectroscopy. These techniques have been used to improve our understanding of how cells behave within such diverse areas as Microbial Fermentation, Cell culture, Bio-remediation, Bio-transformation, Brewing and now the challenging area of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing.
The last 15 years has seen the growth of a new and global healthcare industry based on human proteins produced in genetically engineered mammalian cells with an estimated current market value of ~£30 billion a year. There is now an opportunity to replicate this growth in the new industry of regenerative medicine. Now there is a need for the long term supply of human stem cells in sufficient numbers to create reproducible and cost effective therapeutic products. The scale-up techniques to be developed for human cells are analogous to those already developed for biopharmaceutical production using mammalian cells at large scales. However, there are a number of unique challenges that need to be addressed, because the quality of the cell is paramount, rather than the proteins that they express. These will be addressed here.