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Magdalene College Cambridge

Professor Howard Chase FREng

Professor Howard Chase was Head of the School of Technology and is Emeritus Professor of Biochemical Engineering in the University of Cambridge.

From 1998 to 2006 Professor Chase was Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering since 2005. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Chemist, and a Chartered Scientist.

In 2010 he was awarded the Donald Medal, an award of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, in recognition of his industrially related research in the field of bioseparations technology.

Professor Chase was an undergraduate (Natural Sciences), and a research student (Biochemistry) at Magdalene College, Cambridge between 1972 and 1978. He held a Research Fellowship at St John’s College, Cambridge from 1978 to 1982. In 1984 he was elected to a Fellowship at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he became Director of Studies in Chemical Engineering. He was Tutor for Graduate Students 1987-1994, Tutor 1994-1996 and Senior Tutor 1993-1996.


Research Interests


We have purified a wide spectrum of biomolecules ranging from bio-polymers to pharmacologically-active proteins and peptides. This has included the optimization of adsorption processes, particularly highly selective techniques, such as immobilised metal ion affinity chromatography. We have been at the forefront of the development of techniques incorporating expanded bed adsorption (EBA).

New technologies for regenerative medicine

We have developed techniques with applications in stem cell therapies: (i) adsorptive methods for separation of different classes of cells by exploiting the differences in cell surface markers, (ii) novel reactors to optimise the scale-up of growth and proliferation of stem cells in suspended culture.

Biological waste treatment

We have developed immobilized cell reactors for the biodegradation of organics present in industrial wastes. We have also shown that partial uncoupling of micro-organism metabolism in activated sludge waste treatment systems can substantially reduce the amount of biomass produced with consequent environmental advantages.

The use of microwave heating in process engineering applications

We have used microwave pyrolysis techniques for the recovery of valuable chemicals from problematical wastes such as aluminium-containing packing laminates, waste automobile engine oils, waste plastics and scrap tyres.  This research has lead to the award-winning spin-out company Enval Ltd.


B.A. Natural Sciences (University of Cambridge)

M.A. (University of Cambridge)

Ph.D. Biochemistry (University of Chemistry)

Sc.D. (University of Cambridge)

Career/Research Highlights

Principal Honours and Distinctions

1993  Sir George Beilby Medal and Prize (Institution of Chemical Engineers)

2005  Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng)

2010  Donald Medal (Institution of Chemical Engineers)

Professional Affiliations

Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (CEng, CSci)

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng)

Key Publications

Chase, H.A.  Prediction of the performance of macropreparative affinity chromatography.  J. Chromatogr., 297, 179-202, (1984).

Hutchinson, M. & Chase, H.A.  An intensified process for the purification of an enzyme from inclusion bodies using integrated expanded bed adsorption and refolding.  Biotechnology Progress 22(4), 1187-1193, (2006).

Lam, S.S., Mahari, W.A.W., Cheng, C.K., Omar, R., Chong, C.T. & Chase, H.A.  Recovery of diesel-like fuel from waste palm oil by pyrolysis using a microwave heated bed of activated carbon.  Energy 115, 791-799 , (2016); doi: 10.1016/