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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

Why did i choose to become an engineer? 
I'd initially applied to do medicine right at the start of my undergraduate degree, and I got into one university for medicine but biochemical engineering was my backup choice. When I came to UCL and I visited the department, it just felt like a good fit! As the years went along I started to really enjoy the degree and content.
I'm happy that it all worked out - what I love the most about my job is the space to innovate. As an engineer there are always either problems to solve or there are always gaps in knowledge to fill - and that gives space to innovate!
You're also 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 to really evaluate what can be done and come up with new ideas. 
For my PhD research I focus on improving the process for biopharmaceutical drugs to treat cancer.
In a small way, I made a contribution to a much larger project bettering the lives of those with cancer. It was really interesting to be a part of, and I did that in collaboration with a biopharmaceutical company called Eli Lilly.
More recently I'm involved with projects that are to do with science outreach, and equality, diversity and inclusion projects. I would hope that the work that I've done has made an impact in helping people 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 a project that's still ongoing at the moment, and it's improving the inclusion of our black and ethnic minority students in biochemical engineering and looking at the curriculum to see how that might contribute to academic performance and 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.
The 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. If you enjoy the applied sciences, applied mathematics, and you enjoy contributing to society in a range of different ways - I would say that you can't go wrong with engineering.
I would encourage as many people as possible to look into exploring engineering as a future career.

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