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.