Prof Alan Dickson BSc, PhD

Professor of Biotechnology

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Biopharmaceuticals are new medicines that are made biologically. “Biologically” means that the production is too complex for simple chemistry and that we currently have to direct biological materials – cells, using the spectrum of natural catalytic reactions - to make these revolutionary medicines. Having started from production of insulin (for treatment of diabetes), the technology now allows for production of many new medicines (eg protein antibodies) that can be used to detect and treat a wide range of other debilitating disease conditions. Detection of cancer cells, delivery of toxic materials to selectively kill cancer cells and alleviation of diseases associated with inappropriate immune responses (eg rheumatoid arthritis) are all made possible by biopharmaceuticals. Making biopharmaceuticals is complex, time-consuming and financially expensive and I work on increasing the understanding of how the production by cells can be made faster, more predictable and more able to deal with biopharmaceuticals that are difficult to make. By working collaboratively with industrial partners, individually and as part of the Centre of Excellence in Biopharmaceuticals (, we are helping to accelerate development of novel therapeutic approaches of great clinical and commercial significance.


  • Biopharmaceuticals, Bioprocessing, Bioeconomy

Sustainable Development Goals

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