Catarina Neves

Host beneficiary: University College London

Catarina Neves completed her integrated Masters (Bsc & Msc) in Biological Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon University, Portugal) in 2017. Throughout her studies, she endeavoured to complement the learnings taken from the taught program by doing industrial internships in the food and biotechnology field, namely in projects with AVECOM (Ghent, Belgium) and BIMBO (Lisbon, Portugal). Her graduation thesis, entitled “Removal of Impurities from Enzyme Solutions”, was carried out at DSM Food Specialties (Delft, Netherlands) and described the application of chromatography to remove DNA from food enzyme concentrates, showing the process development path from high throughput experimentation to pilot scale implementation. It was during the time spent at DSM that she discovered her passion for Downstream Processing technologies applied to food and biopharmaceutical products. From 2017 to 2019, she assumed the role of Associate Scientist in DSM Food Specialties division, building her knowledge on enzyme-based processing optimization and intensification, with expertise in chromatography. With the ambition of harness and further develop her understanding on bioprocesses, she decided to integrate CODOBIO project and, in particular, the Bioprocess Decisional Tools group led by Professor Suzanne Farid at University College London, which envisions the integration of business and process models to enhance the design of cost-effective bioprocesses, capacity planning and portfolio management.

Research Focus:

“Cost modelling of end-to-end continuous bioprocesses” aims to develop integrated economic and experimental optimization of end-to-end continuous biopharmaceutical processes, by creating a decisional tool comprising detailed process economics models linked to multi-criteria decision-making and uncertainty analysis. Relevant predictive design equations along with cost and environmental metrics will be incorporated into a Python-built model and the application of the tools to a series of industrially-relevant case studies will enable to explore the feasibility of alternative continuous flowsheets across a range of scenarios with different scales and frequencies of production.

Short description of project:

Development of decisional tools to evaluate the potential of fully integrated end-to-end continuous bioprocesses with both column-based and column-free DSP operations.

What new skill/skills did you learn?

Modelling in Python, multi-variate data analysis techniques, optimization algorithms, statistical evaluation, life cycle assessment.

What did you enjoy most about your project?

The partnership with industry and the broad spectrum of evaluation methodologies.

What do you believe is your biggest contribution to the scientific community?

A process model that can be used to rapidly give cost and environmental estimations for new mAb production strategies.

What would your advice be for future Early-Stage Researchers at the start of their project?

Make a realistic and flexible plan of the topics you would like to tackle during your research and a list of people/partners/experts who can help you when developing those topics.

What do you plan next?

My plan was to get an industrial position after my PhD, where I could put into action my learnings on process economics and sustainability. Fortunately, I got a position in a Canadian biotech company as Process Engineer where I am currently supporting the evaluation of capital investments, performing risk analysis and assisting the implementation of new processes and process changes in factories around world.
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