Professor Stephen J. Wilkinson

Head of Chemical Engineering

Steve graduated from the University of Cambridge in Chemical Engineering and obtained his PhD from the Centre for Process Systems Engineering at Imperial College, London. He has provided consultancy and software tools for complex business optimisation problems in the process industries in various companies in the US and UK. He has also worked at Manchester University as a Pfizer funded Research Fellow and conducted research within a BBSRC funded research project. In 2008 Steve was appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering of the University of Sheffield and in Sept. 2013 he became Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Chester.

Qualifications

MA (Cantab), MEng, PhD, DIC

Overview

Steve began studying Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge and ended up graduating in Chemical Engineering in 1992. He then went to the Centre for Process Systems Engineering at Imperial College, London where he was awarded a PhD in 1996 on 'Aggregate Formulations for Large-Scale Process Scheduling Problems'. This research was part-funded by Unilever Research and provided new techniques for solving large-scale supply chain problems which have since been incorporated into commercial software systems.

He then had 3 year spell in the United States working as a Research Engineer for E. I. DuPont de Nemours in Wilmington, Delaware. During this time he applied techniques of mathematical optimization to improve productivity of flexible process plants operating in global supply chains. He continued this theme of work back in the UK working for with Prescient Systems and then Decision Engines Limited providing consultancy and software tools for complex business optimisation problems in the process industries.

Towards the end of this time academia beckoned and Steve became fascinated by the emerging field of systems biology and how engineering methods could be used to understand living cells enabling the design of new processes. He went to Manchester University in 2005 as a Pfizer funded Research Fellow working on `Dynamic Modelling of the p38 MAP Kinase Signalling Pathway´ with Professor Douglas Kell. This was followed by a BBSRC funded project on `The Systems Biology of Regulation´ with Professor Hans Westerhoff.

In September 2008 Steve was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield and in September 2013 he became Head of Chemical Engineering at the University of Chester as a founding member of the new Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Teaching

Steve is passionate about working with colleagues from engineering and science to design and deliver problem based teaching with strong industrial involvement. All our teaching is based at the Thornton Science Park which is also home to a number of technology companies. Interdisciplinary teaching is a key theme, especially in areas where scientific principles meet engineering applications.

Module: SE4003 Mathematics for Scientists & Engineers

Research

Steve's research involves the use of computational modelling and optimisation in a variety of applications from the level of the cell to the level of the process flowsheet including:

  • Modelling and optimisation of bioprocess flowsheets
  • Integration of wastewater treatment and algal growth for biodiesel and biomethane
  • Cell models of signalling, gene expression and protein translation for biopharmaceuticals
  • Development of Sentero for simulation and analysis of biochemical networks
  • Solution of large optimisation problems for parameter estimation and control

Published work

  • Pybus, L. P., Dean, G., West, N. R., Smith, A., Daramola, O., Field, R., Wilkinson, S. J. & James, D. C. (2013). Model-directed engineering of “difficult-to-express” monoclonal antibody production by Chinese hamster ovary cells Biotechnol Bioeng, (published online: 14 Nov 2013, DOI: 10.1002/bit.25116).
  • Liu, J., Mukherjee, J., Hawkes, J. J. and Wilkinson, S. J. (2013), Optimization of lipid production for algal biodiesel in nitrogen stressed cells of Dunaliella salina using FTIR analysis. J. Chem. Technol. Biotechnol.. doi: 10.1002/jctb.4027
  • Almiñana, C., Heath, P. R., Wilkinson, S.J., Sanchez-Osorio, J., Cuello, C., Parrilla, I., . . . Fazeli, A. (2012). Early developing pig embryos mediate their own environment in the maternal tract.. PLoS One, 7(3), e33625. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033625
  • Kilner, J., Corfe, B. M., & Wilkinson, S. J. (2011). Modelling the microtubule: towards a better understanding of short-chain fatty acid molecular pharmacology.. Mol Biosyst, 7(4), 975-983.
  • Mcleod, J., O'Callaghan, P. M., Pybus, L. P., Wilkinson, S. J., James, D. C., Root, T., . . . Racher, A. J. (2011). An empirical modeling platform to evaluate the relative control discrete CHO cell synthetic processes exert over recombinant monoclonal antibody production process titer. Biotechnol Bioeng, 108(9), 2193-2204.
  • O'Callaghan, P. M., McLeod, J., Pybus, L. P., Lovelady, C. S., Wilkinson, S. J., Racher, A. J., . . . James, D. C. (2010). Cell line-specific control of recombinant monoclonal antibody production by CHO cells. Biotechnol Bioeng, 106(6), 938-951.
  • Brown, M., He, F., & Wilkinson, S. J. (2010). Properties of the proximate parameter tuning regularization algorithm. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 72(3), 697-718.
  • Dimelow, R. J., & Wilkinson, S. J. (2009). Control of translation initiation: a model-based analysis from limited experimental data. J R Soc Interface, 6(30), 51-61.
  • Westerhoff, H. V., Kolodkin, A., Conradie, R., Wilkinson, S. J., Bruggeman, F. J., Krab, K., . . . Snoep, J. L. (2009). Systems biology towards life in silico: mathematics of the control of living cells.. J Math Biol, 58(1-2), 7-34.
  • Wilkinson, S. J., Benson, N., & Kell, D. B. (2008). Proximate parameter tuning for biochemical networks with uncertain kinetic parameters. Mol Biosyst, 4(1), 74-97.
  • Westerhoff, H. V., Kolodkin, A., Conradie, R., Wilkinson, S. J., Bruggeman, F. J., Krab, K., . . . Snoep, J. L. (2008). Systems biology towards life in silico: mathematics of the control of living cells. Journal of Mathematical Biology, 1-28.
  • Bevilacqua, A., Wilkinson, S. J., Dimelow, R., Murabito, E., Rehman, S., Nardelli, M., . . . Westerhoff, H. V. (2008). Vertical systems biology: from DNA to flux and back. SEB Exp Biol Ser, 61, 65-91.
  • Ihekwaba, A. E., Wilkinson, S. J., Waithe, D., Broomhead, D. S., Li, P., Grimley, R. L., . . . Benson, N. (2007). Bridging the gap between in silico and cell-based analysis of the nuclear factor-kappaB signaling pathway by in vitro studies of IKK2. FEBS J, 274(7), 1678-1690.