Imperial College London

Dr Cleo Kontoravdi

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Chemical Engineering

Reader in Biosystems Engineering



+44 (0)20 7594 6655cleo.kontoravdi98 Website




516ACE ExtensionSouth Kensington Campus






Date Role
2018- Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
2012-2018 Departmental Athena SWAN Coordinator
2007- Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader in Chemical Engineering (Lonza/RCUK Academic Fellowship)
2006-2007 Research and Development Scientist, Lonza Biologics
2007 PhD in Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London.
An Integrated Modelling/Experimental Framework for Protein-producing Animal Cell Cultures.
2002 MEng in Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London 

Research Interests

My interests lie in the area of biotechnology, with particular focus on the application of systems engineering principles to bioprocessing. My research involves the systematic integration of model-based tools, such as sensitivity analysis, design of experiments and optimisation, with experimentation on mammalian cell culture systems. Topics of interest include optimisation of culture media and conditions productivity, protein glycosylation, metabolic flux analysis and multiscale modelling.

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PhD opening - Autumn 2020

We have a PhD opening for October 2020 entry in collaboration with AstraZeneca on CHO cell factory modelling funded by the BBSRC Industrial CASE Partnership. Candidates are expected to hold a Masters-level degree in Engineering and be a UK citizen or EU citizen that has been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years immediately prior to the start date. For further details and to apply please contact me by email by 15th January 2020. 

Project description

Biopharmaceuticals represent the fastest growing sector of the pharmaceutical industry with seven out of the top ten best-selling drug products in 2018 being protein-based. These are produced in living, primarily mammalian, cells, which brings about considerable challenges primarily related to the heterogeneity and lack of control over the biotic phase. Mathematical modelling is one of the underpinning approaches for the implementation of the Quality-by-Design (QbD) framework. This generic framework was adopted by the US Food and Drug Administration for the wider pharmaceutical sector and its use is encouraged in the development of new biological products, such as therapeutic proteins, hormones and vaccines. In academia and increasingly in industry, mathematical models are used to analyse cellular behaviour, rapidly explore different operating strategies and expedite process development. This project aims to develop a modular cell factory modelling platform that integrates kinetic models with genome-scale flux models to quantitatively and accurately describe cell culture processes.

The successful candidate will be integrated in the Kontoravdi group at the Centre for Process Systems Engineering at Imperial College London and will be primarily be responsible for the computational aspects of this project. The student is expected to spend a minimum of one month per year at the Granta Park site of AstraZeneca in Cambridge, where they will also be involved in supporting experimentation.

January 2019

Congratulations to Pavlos Kotidis who won the Best Oral Presentation prize at the 2019 ESACT-UK Meeting!ESACT 2019

October 2018

Congratulations to Zoltan Kis who won the 2nd poster prize at the launch event for the Imperial Network of Vaccine Research!

Congratulations to Chiara Heide who won the 3rd poster prize at the 5th BioProNET Annual Science meeting!

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Jimenez del Val I, Kyriakopoulos S, Polizzi KM, et al., 2013, An optimised method for extraction and quantification of nucleotides and nucleotide sugars from mammalian cells, Analytical Biochemistry, Vol:443, Pages:172-180

Chen N, Koumpouras GC, Polizzi KM, et al., 2012, Genome-based kinetic modeling of cytosolic glucosemetabolism in industrially relevant cell lines -Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Chinese hamsterovary cells, Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering, Vol:35, Pages:1023-1033

Kontoravdi C, Pistikopoulos EN, Mantalaris A, 2010, Systematic development of predictive mathematical models for animal cell cultures, Computers & Chemical Engineering, Vol:34, Pages:1192-1198

More Publications