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Improving the lives of cancer patients

As a biochemical engineer Chika gets to problem solve and help change people's lives. Chika's research focuses on optimizing the process for making biopharmaceutical drugs to improve the lives of those with cancer!

Chika Nweke

Okay so why did i choose to become an engineer? I would say I fell into engineering.
I'd initially applied to do medicine right at the start of my undergraduate degree, and I got into one place for medicine but biochemical engineering was my backup choice. So when I came to UCL and I visited the department it just felt like a good fit!  And as the years went along I started to really enjoy the degree and content.
So I'd say I fell into engineering but I'm happy that it all worked out in the end. I'd say that what I love the most about my job is the space to innovate.
So you know as an engineer there are always either problems to solve or there are always kind of gaps in knowledge to fill and that gives space to innovate.
You're not necessarily doing the same thing for long periods of time. There will come a point where there'll be something that no one else has kind of tried to solve before. You can then take some time out to really evaluate what can be done and come up with new ideas. So I'd say space to it to innovate is probably what I like the most about my job.
For my PhD research I focus on kind of optimizing the purification process for biopharmaceutical drugs to treat cancer.
So in a small way I made a contribution to a much larger project which is towards bettering the lives of those with cancer. That was that was really interesting to be a part of and I did that in collaboration with a biopharmaceutical company called Eli Lilly.
That was great and but more recently I'm involved with projects that are mainly to do with science engagement and outreach and equality diversity inclusion projects. I would hope to say that the work that I've done has made an impact in bringing people in to understand more about what biochemical engineers do: How we apply ourselves in society, and encouraging young people to look into biochemical engineering as an option.
An exciting project that I worked on is probably a project that's still ongoing at the moment, so it's it's mainly around improving the inclusion  of our black and ethnic minority students in biochemical engineering and looking at the curriculum in itself to see how that might contribute to academic performance.
Looking at different types of initiatives like decolonizing the curriculum. A lot of projects around equality diversity and inclusion. are really exciting  projects to be a part of, especially the crossover with engineering education as well.
Advice that I would give to someone considering engineering is - go for  it! You don't always need to know what you want to do at every kind of career stage. You can never go wrong by studying engineering.
If you enjoy the applied sciences, you enjoy the applied mathematics, and you enjoy the  space that there is to contribute to society in a range of different ways - I would say that you can't go wrong with engineering.
And I would encourage as many people as possible to look into exploring engineering as a future career.

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