ESACT-UK Committee

Peter Archibald

Scientific Programme Lead

Peter is the Scientific Programme Lead for ESACT-UK having joined the committee in 2017 as an ordinary member. Peter holds both an undergraduate degree (BSc) in Human Biology and PhD in Regenerative Medicine from Loughborough University. After completing his PhD, he joined GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in November 2015 as a ‘Senior Scientist’ in the Cell & Gene Therapy (C&GT) Upstream Vector Process Development team, and in November 2019 he was promoted to the role of ‘Investigator’. In these roles, he worked on the development of scalable upstream manufacturing processes for viral vectors. In 2020, he became the Team Lead for the C&GT Upstream Vector Process Development team at GSK, managing a team of scientists focused on the development and tech transfer of upstream processes for viral vectors.

Rhian Carter

Meetings Secretary

Rhian is a Group Lead in the Process Research and Development Group at Oxford Biomedica. Oxford Biomedica is a leading, fully integrated, cell and gene therapy group, and has recently diversified in to the large-scale manufacturing of the adenoviral based COVID-19 vaccine. Rhian joined Oxford Biomedica in 2013, and helped to develop the first commercially approved LentiVector® process for the production Kymriah®. In addition, Rhian has guided the process development and tech transfer activities for clinical manufacture of numerous other cell and gene therapy candidates for multiple collaborators and clients. Prior to joining Oxford Biomedica, Rhian completed a Post-doctoral Research Associate position at the University of Cambridge. Rhian has been an active member of the ESACT-UK committee since 2010.

Karen Coopman

Karen is the Chair of the ESACT-UK society, overseeing the running of the society with the support of the rest of the committee. With a background in pharmacology Karen has always had an interest in healthcare and her research interests now focus on the manufacturing of cell-based therapies and biopreservation. A Reader in Biological Engineering at Loughborough University she has been involved with the UK’s bioprocessing community for over 10 years, having served on the Steering Groups of both the Bioprocessing Research Industry Club and BioProNet in the past. Currently she is the Director of the EPSRC/MRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine and an Executive Editor for Biotechnology Letters.

Netty England MBE

Public Relations Officer
Netty is a bioprocessing consultant, having worked in the industry for over 30 years to deliver projects such as Covid-19 vaccine support, cell & gene therapy manufacturing skills and training initiatives including apprenticeships, conference organisation, fermenter training, process development and technical support, business development and market research. Through the BIA she is currently involved in the Covid19 Vaccines Manufacturing Taskforce and Expert Advisory Group, Manufacturing Advisory Committee (MAC), Science and Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC) and Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), including the Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Taskforce where her focus was on developing skills in the sector. Through the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, she is part of the Skills team delivering the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) programme as well as the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN).

Julian Hanak

Ordinary Committee Member
Julian has worked in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical sector for more than 25 years, holding senior leadership positions in small biotech, CDMO and large pharma companies. Graduating as a Biochemist from University College London he completed his Master’s at Bangor University before working in research at the Nation Institute for Medical Research (MRC), Bioproducts Laboratories and Astra Zeneca. He gained extensive Gene Therapy drug development, manufacturing and business development experience at Cobra Biologics, NightStar Therapeutics and most recently Biogen, where he was SVP and the global head of Gene Therapy Product and Process Development. He is currently the Chief Development Officer at Purespring Therapeutics Ltd, a company specialising in gene therapy treatments for kidney diseases and is an honorary lecturer for UCL Biochemical Engineering.

Mariana Petronela (Petra) Hanga

Ordinary Committee Member
Petra is a Lecturer in Biochemical Engineering – Cellular agriculture at UCL. Previously, she was affiliated with Aston University. She holds a BEng in biochemical engineering (Romania) and a PhD in Regenerative Medicine from Loughborough University. Petra’s research interests lie at the intersection of Engineering and Life Sciences. Her multidisciplinary strengths and expertise include an understanding of the whole cell culture bioprocess from inoculation to harvest. Petra is a committee member of the ESACT-UK and also a committee member and travel bursary secretary for the Biochemical Engineering Subject Interest Group (BESIG) in the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). She is also on the Editorial Board of Biotechnology Letters and the winner of the ESACT-UK Inaugural Chris Hewitt Rising Star Award.

Hirra Hussain


Hirra is the Secretary of ESACT-UK and joined the committee in 2017. Hirra completed her PhD in Biotechnology at the University of Manchester in 2016. After her PhD, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology with different industrial collaborators (Absynth Biologics Ltd and UCB Pharma). Both PhD and post-doctoral projects have concentrated on the molecular understanding of poor recombinant protein production and the use of engineering strategies to overcome this challenge. In July 2021, Hirra moved to the Centre for Process Innovation as a Senior Scientist in the Upstream Processing team at the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre. In this role, she continues to work on the development and production of different biopharmaceuticals including viral vectors and nucleic-acid based products.

Rosalyn Masterton

Trade Coordinator

Rosalyn is the ESACT-UK trade coordinator, and her role involves registering trade delegates and organising the exhibition and sponsorships for the annual conference. She joined the committee in 2007, initially taking on the scientific programme coordinator role and then switching to the trade coordinator role in 2010, the role which she continues to date. At the University of Kent in Canterbury Rosalyn is an academic in the School of Biosciences and the Centre Manager and Administrator for the Industrial Biotechnology Centre. Her research interest is focused around the bioprocessing area in improving recombinant protein production from in vitro cultured mammalian cells. Projects focus upon identifying the cellular limitations with regard to recombinant protein production.

Qasim Rafiq


Qasim is the Webmaster for ESACT-UK having previously served as the Society’s Secretary from 2015 – 2017 and the Scientific Programme Lead from 2017 – 2019. He is an Associate Professor in Cell and Gene Therapy Bioprocess Engineering at University College London (UCL). He is a multidisciplinary engineer working at the life science, engineering and commercial interfaces with a research focus on the bioprocessing, automation and biomanufacture of cell and gene-based therapies. He is Programme Director of a new MSc programme in the Manufacture and Commercialisation of Stem Cell and Gene Therapies. Qasim is both a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Scientist. He sits on multiple scientific committees including the IChemE Biochemical Engineering Subject Interest Group, British Standards Institute Biotechnology Committee and the BIA’s Cell & Gene Therapy Advisory Committee.

Glenn Robinson

Glenn graduated from Reading University in 1984 with an honours degree in Biological Sciences, specialising in microbiology. He then joined a general laboratory supplier before specialising in the fermentation & bioreactor equipment supply market in early 1989. Glenn has a solid understanding of whole processes (USP and DSP) although his main expertise is within upstream cell culture & fermentation. Glenn is the Sales & Service Manager for Applikon Biotechnology UK Glenn is currently Treasurer of ESACT UK and also a committee member of the Biochemical Engineering Subject Group (BESIG) of the IChemE.

Chris Sellick

Ordinary Committee Member
Chris is the Head of Analytical Development at Kymab and, following the acquisition of Kymab, is a Director at Sanofi. Based in Cambridge, UK, Kymab, a Sanofi company, is developing novel human antibody-based therapies in a broad range of indications. The IntelliSelect® transgenic platform is used to generate a vast repertoire of fully-human, species cross-reactive and affinity-matured antibodies against challenging targets.Prior to joining Kymab, he worked at MedImmune (now Astra Zeneca) leading the BioProcess Analytics group. He holds a degree in Biochemistry/Genetics from University of Leeds and a PhD in molecular biology from University of Manchester.