Professor Nigel Slater
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Bioscience engineering research wins ‘Paper of the Year’ award

Research headed by Fitzwilliam College Fellow Professor Nigel Slater has been awarded the ‘Paper of the Year’ for 2019 by Springer journal Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering.

In the paper, from the Bioscience Engineering group in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, “A heuristic approach to handling missing data in biologics manufacturing databases”, researchers led by Duygu Dikicioglu, Nishanthi Gangadharan and Jeanet Mante explored how to deal with gaps in bioprocess datasets. These sets of data can be used for machine learning models that could lead to improved efficiency in the biotech industry.

Research into bioprocesses – including the production of antibodies, enzymes or proteins – generates huge datasets, as the optimum conditions across a myriad of variables for a particular process are investigated.

There are strict regulations for research into biologic drugs, so researchers must keep comprehensive records of all their experiments to prove their approach meets quality control measures.

Professor Slater says: “I am particularly proud of this recognition, as the work was led by one of my postdoctoral protégés (Duygu Dikicioglu) who will soon take up an Associate Professor position at University College London. 

“As I approach retirement it is very pleasing to know that the next generation are exceptionally capable of carrying forward our research successfully.

“We not only educate students for life outside academia, but we train young academics to succeed us in their fields. 

“I particularly enjoy chatting with our many young Fellows about their research at Fitzwilliam College – I remember Tony Edwards, Dick Hardy and Nigel Kenney encouraging me enormously by doing that with me 40 years ago when I first joined the College.”

Read the full paper: “A heuristic approach to handling missing data in biologics manufacturing databases”, 2019, Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering.

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