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Prof Martina Micheletti
Bernard Katz Building
Prof Martina Micheletti profile picture
  • Professor of Bioprocess Fluid Dynamics
  • Dept of Biochemical Engineering
  • Faculty of Engineering Science
Research Themes
Research Summary

Martina Micheletti is a Lecturer in Biochemical Engineering at University College London. Dr Micheletti's research focuses on the study of the influence of the engineering environment on different types of biological organisms in upstream and downstream bioprocessing operations with the aim to address key challenges in the scale-up of pharmaceutical processes.

She graduated in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pisa and got her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from King's College London in 2004 for her work on fluid dynamics in reactors under the guidance of Professor Yianneskis. She then obtained a postdoctoral research associate position as part of the Bioconversion Chemistry-Engineering Interface (BiCE) programme led by Gary Lye and became a Lecturer in Biochemical Engineering in 2007. She is responsible for the research on engineering fundamentals underpinning bioprocess operations and high throughput development in biocatalysis and biopharmaceutical processes.

Dr Micheletti’s research interests lie in the fundamental fluid mechanics that underpin the design and scale-up of a variety of bioprocess unit operations. She has particular expertise in the use of advanced optical techniques for the measurement and quantification of fluid flows. In particular she has used techniques such as Laser Doppler Anemometry and Particle Image Velocimetry to study velocity characteristics in multi-phase flows in stirred vessels.

Within the Bioconversion Chemistry-Engineering Interface (BiCE) programme, she has been responsible for establishing microscale bioprocessing techniques in order to speed up bioprocess development. She demonstrated the creation of a whole process sequence, on the deck of an automated platform, for the rapid evaluation of large libraries of evolved biocatalysts and successfully compared microscale data to those obtained in conventional lab scale bioreactors. Working in collaboration with the other BiCE researchers, she has also been involved in demonstrating the use of microscale-collected data for the evaluation of bioconversion kinetic parameters using modelling approaches.

Current research focuses on the miniaturization of fermentation and bioconversion operations using oxidative enzymes and on the measurement of fundamental engineering variables that underpin subsequent bioprocesses scale-up. These aspects have been extended to also cover the scale-down of downstream processing operations such as cross-flow filtration and inclusion-body derived protein refolding as part of the IMRC in Bioprocessing.  Dr Micheletti has been involved in the development of a new Responsive Bioprocessing Facility located in the department's Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering. The Facility is equipped with the latest single-use technology at laboratory and pilot scale for the study of flexible biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Martina's leads research studies focusing on the fundamental engineering characterisation of such technology for improved scale-up.

Teaching Summary

Martina lectures on aspects of fluid flow and process automation at all levels. In relation to the Undergraduate programme these include Introduction to Biochemical Engineering and Fluid Flow and Mixing in Bioprocesses. She is also the coordinator of the second Year Undergraduate Pilot Plant Week activities and of postgraduate Pilot Plant Project training module. At the Masters and post-experience level she teaches aspects of Integrated Downstream Processing and on two of the department's post-experience MBI® training modules, Rapid Fermentation Process Design and Challenges and Opportunities in Industrial Biotechnology. Martina has recently received the ExxonMobil Excellence in teachign Award for her contribution to the teaching of engineering practice and for innovation work on assessment of individuals in team-based activities.

In terms of administrative roles Martina is assuming responsibility for the MEng Biochemical Engineering with Study Abroad degree programme and is tutor to students studying at European and Overseas Universities. She has recently led the departmental team working on the Scientific Women in Academia Network (SWAN) application which won the department a Silver Award for advancing gender equality practice in 2011.

17-SEP-2007 Lecturer Biochemical Engineering UCL, United Kingdom
01-JUN-2004 – 16-SEP-2007 Postdoctoral Research Associate Biochemical Engineering UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2012   ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow University College London
2004   Doctor of Philosophy King's College London
2000   Laurea Universita degli Studi di Pisa
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