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Professor of Engineering Harris Makatsoris awarded President's Special Award for Pandemic Service by the Royal Academy of Engineering

Harris Makatsoris, Professor of Sustainable Manufacturing Systems in the Department of Engineering, has been awarded for his work on the production of synthetic RNA vaccines against the Coronavirus pathogen with advanced manufacturing intensification technology.

Harris Makatsoris

Granted for exceptional engineering achievements in tackling the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this award from the Royal Academy of Engineering has been made to 19 winners across the UK’s engineering community.

Harris’ research has led to the development of a ‘factory-in-a-box’ that allows the rapid manufacture of synthetic RNA vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thus minimising the space required for high-volume vaccine production.

Harris described the way his research will impact COVID-19 efforts:

This research adds a new tool in the manufacturing toolbox for vaccines and other RNA based therapeutics. A conventional vaccine manufacturing plant requires several months and a significant multi-million pound investment to be built. There is therefore an urgent need for a dramatic and rapid increase in manufacturing capacity and this can be addressed with new thinking and technology that pushes convention and current boundaries. We work precisely to achieve that with research that combines flow technologies with computer control, delivers compact, reproducible manufacturing environments to make these therapeutics reliably and continuously, and ultimately at the point-of-use. The result is manufacturing capability that can scale rapidly to meet the needs of the population, reducing dependency on overseas supply and at a small fraction of the investment required for a typical biopharmaceutical plant.

At King’s, Harris’ research interests include a focus on Artificial Intelligence for process automation, Circular Manufacturing Systems enabled by bioprocessing, and flow technologies for vaccines manufacturing.

On this recognition from the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor Barbara Shollock - Head of the Department of Engineering - commented:

The President’s Special Award for Pandemic Service is just one way to highlight the diversity of contributions in this public health crisis. Engineering expertise, working alongside other disciplines, is key to developing innovative solutions, and Harris’s research is an excellent example of this. We at King’s College Department of Engineering are delighted that he has been recognised with this award

Watch Harris' Spotlight on COVID interview to find out more about his' 'factory-in-a-box' solution to vaccine manufacturing.

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Harris Makatsoris

Harris Makatsoris

Professor of Sustainable Manufacturing Systems