Dr Siew Tai
Siew L. Tai holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering (BEng, 1st Class Hons) from the University of Manchester, an MSc (cum laude) Biochemical Engineering and PhD Industrial Microbiology from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. His research encompasses the intricate networking between biotechnology and bioprocess engineering, mainly within the bioproducts, biopharmaceutical, agricultural and the food and beverage industry. He has worked with the Affymetrix® Genechip platform and has extended knowledge in various molecular biology tools (e.g. RT qPCR, cloning) and specialises in the field of industrial fermentation. He carried out his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Stellenbosch studying methods for reducing alcohol content in South African red wines. Following that, he joined the Biovac Institute where he was the lead production engineer in setting up a vaccine manufacturing facility, first of its kind in Southern Africa. He spent the next 5 years there designing and building 2 production facilities from upstream processing (bioreactors), downstream processing (centrifugation, column chromatography, filtration) to formulation and filling (cleanroom technology, vial filling, cGMP). Siew’s current research at UCT concentrates in the fields of biopharmaceutical engineering and bioenergy systems, in combination with bioreactor design, bioprocess modelling and simulation, and bioproduct formation.
In his position as senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Siew is mainly involved with teaching 4th year undergraduate. He currently is the 4th year student advisor and convenes the Chemical Engineering Design Project (CHE4036Z) and the precursor course, Process Synthesis and Equipment Design (CHE4049F). He also teaches in the biotechnology component of the programme, in particular in Bioprocess Engineering Principles (CHE3068S) and the Bioprocess Engineering Design (CHE4068F) courses. He also supervises 4th year thesis projects. In addition, he is involved with the design of the new UCT undergraduate curriculum, is on the board of Advisory for Biotechnology at CPUT and is an external moderator for various modules for universities in South Africa.