Chemical Engineering

Staff

Dr Elizabeth Ratcliffe Bsc (Hons), MSc (Hons), PhD, CBiol, CSci

Photo of Dr Elizabeth Ratcliffe

Lecturer in Bioengineering

Programme Director for Bioengineering

Background:

Dr Elizabeth Ratcliffe is a Vice-Chancellor’s lecturer in Biological Engineering at Loughborough University, the VC lectureship was awarded in 2016 in open competition against 1650 candidates across all University Schools and Departments. In this role she is developing new research streams combining manufacturing science and synthetic biology to tackle challenges in Regenerative Medicine, Gene Therapies and Antimicrobial Resistance and she has won 3 PhD studentships and post-doctoral project funding within the first year of starting this new role. Elizabeth is also developing new teaching streams as Programme Director for Loughborough’s new undergraduate Bioengineering programmes (www.lboro.ac.uk/bioengineering) and is working towards acreditation of these new programmes.

Prior to her lectureship Elizabeth was a Named Lead Researcher within LOughborough’s £5M EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine (2010-2015) and she was awarded an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Enterprise Fellowship (2014-2016). Her research comprises multidisciplinary and scientifically challenging clinically-relevant biology in an engineering setting, focussed on providing solutions to barriers in the translation of cell based products to the clinic. Her career has progressed from working in a hospital-based clinical commercialisation interface setting where her work was confidential (Nottingham University, PhD 2003-2007, Postdoctoral Fellow 2007-2008), to working alongside Professors David Williams and Rob Thomas with world-leading commercial and academic collaborators to establish manufacturing processesfor human stem cell-based products including Pfizer Neusentis, GE Healthcare, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, Cook Myosite and the DARPA funded blood pharming programme (2008-2012). She is well known among her peers for novel development and use of advanced automated cell culture platforms and application of Quality Engineering tools to improve the quality of stem cell bioprocessing, including the first time use of Response Surface Methods, and Quality by Design approaches to improve process consistency, Cost of Goods and product quality. She has built her publication portfolio, including invitation to write two well-received journal opinion pieces, a significant achievement given the confidential nature of much of her work to date which has primarily been process related, an area notoriously difficult to protect with patents and usually kept as confidential know-how. Elizabeth has developed new opportunities at the interface between her bioengineering expertise and the field of Synthetic Biology. Her interest in Synthetic Biology stems from her earlier genetic engineering PhD research focussed on generation of novel vaccine antigens for prevention of orthopaedic implant infection. She pioneered EPSRC Centre  research to explore Synthetic Biology applications in systematic engineering of cell based products (2013-2014) and their integration into process engineering tools and techniques for cell culture manufacturing processes (2013-2014; 2014-2016 Enterprise Fellowship).

Elizabeth previously worked and studied at The University of Nottingham where she achieved her Bsc (Hons) Microbiology (2002), MSc (Hons) Molecular Medical Microbiology (2003), and her PhD (2004-2007) which investigated Staphylococcus aureus binding domains as vaccine antigens for prevention of infection in orthopaedic implants, working alongside Professor Brigitte E. Scammell (UKs 1st female Professor of Orthopaedics) and Professor Roger Bayston (inventor of Bactiseal® antimicrobial platform for hydrocephalus-related CSF shunting, Codman, Johnson & Johnson), it was from this research that she was awarded her first grant for post-doctoral research (2007-2008).

Qualifications:

  • 2014 CSci, Chartered Scientist, Royal Society of Biology
  • 2014 CBiol, Chartered Biologist, Royal Society of Biology
  • 2004 – 2007  Ph.D. in Molecular Medical Biology (competitively awarded University of Nottingham Scholarship), University of Nottingham
  • 2002 - 2003  MSc Molecular Medical Microbiology (European Union Masters Scholarship Award) University of Nottingham
  • 1999 - 2002  BSc (Hons) Microbiology (Upper Second Honours), University of Nottingham

Key awards:

2018 Leadership Excellence Accelerator Programme (LEAP) Fellowship (deferred to 2018 cohort due to career break) International award peer reviewed by field experts from SynBerc, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the US National Science Federation and SynBiCITE (Imperial College London). Fellowship comprises landscape meetings, residential workshops, white paper development, field leader mentorship and development of emerging leader network in Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology

  • 2016-2018     Post-graduate Certificate in Academic Practise, Loughborough University
  • 2016   Medici Enterprise Training Programme, University of Birmingham.
  • 2015   Institute of Leadership and Management Level 4 Award in Leadership and Management, Loughborough University
  • 2014 EPSRC Impact Acceleration Enterprise Fellowship Award, £140,000, Loughborough University
  • 2011   PRINCE2® PRojects IN Controlled Environments Practitioner, accredited by BCS, Loughborough University. 
  • 2010   Institute of Leadership and Management Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management, Loughborough University.
  • 2010   PRINCE2® Foundation Qualification, Loughborough University

 

Current teaching responsibilities:

  • CGA007 Process Balances
  • CGC024 Biochemical Engineering
  • CGRDT5 Practical Course Basic Cell Biology

Current administrative responsibilities:

  • Programme Director for Bioengineering undergraduate courses
  • Member: Bioengineering Operations committee
  • Member: Materials Departmental teaching and learning committee (Bioengineering)
  • Member: Materials Departmental staff and student committee (Bioengineering)

Outline of main research interests:

Elizabeth’s research interests are aimed at providing solutions to barriers in the translation of emerging therapies towards the clinic, she is currently developing new research streams combining manufacturing science and synthetic biology to tackle challenges in Regenerative Medicine, Gene Therapies and Antimicrobial Resistance.

Current projects include developing methodologies and tools for robust bioprocessing and scale-up of gene therapy manufacture; bacteriophage manufacture and diagnostic sensors for chronic wounds.

Elizabeth has experience and interest in novel development and use of advanced automated cell culture platforms and application of Quality Engineering tools to improve the quality of stem cell bioprocessing, including the first time use of Response Surface Methods, and Quality by Design approaches to improve process consistency, Cost of Goods and product quality.

Additional interest in Synthetic Biology stems from her earlier genetic engineering PhD research focussed on generation of novel vaccine antigens for prevention of orthopaedic implant infection. 

Grants and contracts:

  • 2017 Principle Investigator, £25k, Chronic wound diagnostics proof-of-concept research, EPSRC Bridging the Gaps in Antimicrobial Resistance, network building award, Loughborough University
  • 2017-2020     Principle Investigator, £52k, PhD studentship award investigating the regenerative and antimicrobial properties of fish oils, VC Lectureship Scholarship, Loughborough University
  • 2016   Co-Investigator, £3k, Chronic wound diagnostics exploration, EPSRC Bridging the Gaps in Antimicrobial Resistance, network building award, Loughborough University
  • 2016-2020     Principle Investigator, £71k PhD studentship award in tackling challenges in gene therapy manufacture, EPSRC/MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine, Loughborough University
  • 2016-2019     Principle Investigator, £42k, PhD studentship award in tackling challenges in bacteriophage manufacture, mini-Centre for Doctoral Training in Fighting Infectious Disease, Loughborough University
  • 2014   Principle Investigator, £140k, Synthetic Tools enabling Gene Therapy manufacture, EPSRC Impact Acceleration Enterprise Fellowship, Loughborough University
  • 2013   Co-Investigator, £223k, Process Engineering tools and techniques enabling the automation of GMP cell culture processes in collaboration with University College London, EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine, Loughborough University
  • 2013   Co-Investigator, £80k, Synthetic Biology applications in systematic engineering of ATMPs, EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine, Loughborough University
  • 2011   Researcher Co-Investigator, £225k, Quality by Design approach to optimise hESC recovery from cryopreservation in collaboration with Pfizer, EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine, Loughborough University
  • 2007   Co-Investigator, 1st grant, £47k, Investigating Staphylococcus aureus binding domains as vaccine antigens for prevention of infection in orthopaedic implants, Nottingham Orthopaedic Appeal, clinician-reviewed funding from the Nottingham Hospitals Charity

External collaborators:

  • University College London
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Imperial College London

External roles and appointments:

  • 2016-2019 Associate Editor for the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Engineering Biology Journal
  • Member of the Royal Society for Biology (RSB)