ALEXANDROS ZOULIATIS IBIOIC MSC STUDENT 2017/18

“I was pleased to be offered a permanent role as a Bioprocess Engineer with Scot Bio following my industrial placement, and I now lead on the downstream processing part of their production”

The MSc in Industrial Biotechnology is an unique collaborative twelve month educational programme, with teaching spread across a number of Scottish HEI’s. It also offers students valuable exposure to and experience in an industrial environment.

Alexandros Zouliatis was an IBioIC MSc student in 2017/18. 'I was particularly attracted to this MSc programme as it offers a 10 week industrial placement, which sounded an ideal way to bridge the gap between academia and industry.'

Alexandros' MSc programme included a ten week industrial placement with ScotBio, who he later joined as a full time employee.

'After graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering, I was faced with the question of “now what?”. There were paths many I could have followed, but I opted for what has been my passion all along; Biotechnology. 

'I enjoyed all the core and electives modules, but I would say that Applied Biocatalysis was the one I enjoyed the most. It’s really what the name implies; using an applied approach to the uses of biocatalysts in industry, delivered through a combination of lectures, assignments and laboratory sessions. The MSc programme as a whole heavily emphasises on teamwork, assignments and report writing, which I believe are essential skills for the work environment.

I undertook my ten week industrial placement at Scot Bio, a company that is in the process of commercialising the production of a blue pigment from microalgae. After a competitive interview with the company, my project was narrowed down to the design of a downstream process for the extraction of this blue pigment from the microalgal biomass. I can say that my time spent working with Scot Bio has definitely helped me grow as a Scientist, and it has also allowed me to improve my business, commercial and entrepreneurial skills as I was involved with corporate aspects of running a company from day one.'

 

The team at ScotBio also benefitted from the programme. 'We felt IBioIC Skills Team made a real effort to find us a suitable MSc student who was a good fit for our company and who really understood the aims of the project on offer. There was good support available to us and Alex throughout the duration of his project.'

'Alex joined us to assist us with researching and evaluating the downstream options and designing a scalable and cost-effective downstream process. Working closely with the R&D and production team, he became familiar with the properties of the organism and the lab-scale downstream processes. Alex looked at ways to adapt current practice as well as evaluating options to introduce completely new technologies or processes, all the while keeping in mind the project aims of finding a process that achieved maximum productivity and acquisition of the desired purity whilst remaining cost effective.

Alex has a wonderful blend of talents, bridging the scientific and the commercial.  He has become a valued member of the team and we are thrilled to say that Alex is joining us as a full-time employee to carry on his good work.

We had a very good experience with IBioIC and the MSc student placement. We felt that IBioIC made a real effort to find us a candidate that was a good fit within our company and our project aims, and there was good support from the team throughout the project. Overall Alex’s project was instrumental in evaluating downstream processing designs for the scale-up and has allowed us to progress more quickly into our commercialisation phase.'