Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge

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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
Head of Department John Dennis
Location Cambridge, United Kingdom
52°12′33″N 0°05′09″E / 52.209208°N 0.085819°E / 52.209208; 0.085819Coordinates: 52°12′33″N 0°05′09″E / 52.209208°N 0.085819°E / 52.209208; 0.085819

The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge is one of the smaller departments in the university. It was formed from a merger of the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Institute of Biotechnology on 1 August 2008. The department is the primary centre for chemical engineering teaching and research activities in Cambridge, and is currently headed by Professor John Dennis.


The department's research topics include sustainable reaction engineering, biomedical engineering, biosensors, diagnostics, fluid mechanics, microfluidics, biological engineering, microstructure engineering, porous media, measurement techniques, processes and modelling.[1]

Institute of Biotechnology[edit]

The Institute of Biotechnology was established in 1988 to meet growing demands for highly skilled research personnel, and the new knowledge necessary for continuing expansion of the science platform upon which biotechnology innovations are based. Institute of Biotechnology is separated from the main department's building, and it is currently located at Tennis Court Road.

Institute of Biotechnology's aims are:

1- To conduct research in selected areas of biotechnology. 2- To provide the best training in biotechnology for high quality graduates from the physical, chemical, and biological sciences. 3- To ensure a rapid and effective transfer of ideas and developments in biological science between University and Industry.

Following the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the Institute of Biotechnology was awarded grade 5, for the quality of its research.

The Institute of Biotechnology has a multi-disciplinary approach, which fosters and encourages interactive project work between in-house groups. This unique strength gives the Institute important links with those departments containing relevant expertise in the University, with local, national and international Industry, and with research centres around the world.

There are four active research groups within the Institute of Biotechnology. Research activities are holographic sensors, acoustic holograms, biopharmacuticals and spores. The director of the Institute is Christopher R. Lowe, OBE. Other activities include Molecular Biology, Metabolic Engineering, Protein Engineering, Microbiology, Biotransformations, Biodegradation, Plant Biotechnology, Enzyme Technology, Bio-separations, Chemical Sensors, Biosensors, Instrumentation, Combinatorial Chemistry, Molecular Modelling.

Master of Bioscience Enterprise[edit]

The Master's in Bioscience Enterprise (MBE) program is a one-year multidisciplinary biotechnology and business degree course. It is designed for high-achieving individuals with enthusiasm for enterprise, who have the ambition to found technology businesses or take up leadership, executive or consultancy roles in the life sciences sector.


The old Shell building on Pembroke Street
The Magnetic Resonance Research Centre on JJ Thomson Avenue

Until 2017, the department's main centre of activity was the Shell building on Pembroke Street on the New Museums Site, to the south of Cambridge city centre. In 2017, the department moved over to a new building on Philippa Fawcett Drive on the West Cambridge site. The Magnetic Resonance Research Centre has occupied a separate building since it was newly built in 1997 on the West Cambridge site, although some of their NMR magnets have moved over to the main building on Philippa Fawcett Drive.

Research Groups[edit]

Research in the department is conducted by a number of research groups which act somewhat independently of the department. These research groups are, amongst others:

  • Sustainable Reaction Engineering Group[2]
  • Healthcare Biotechnology Group[3]
  • Fluids and Environment Group [4]
  • The Combustion Group[5]
  • The Magnetic Resonance Research Centre [6]
  • The Computational Modelling Group.[7]
  • The Laser Analytics Group[8]


External links[edit]