Prof Sue Harrison
Director for the Centre of Bioprocess Engineering Research
Sue Harrison has some 30 years experience in research in bioprocess engineering, gained in the industrial and academic arenas. She holds undergraduate degrees in microbiology (BSc. Hons) and chemistry (BSc) from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Cambridge University. She worked as a research scientist in the R&DD department of AECI Ltd in Johannesburg for three years. In 1991, she joined the academic staff of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town.
Her research in bioprocess engineering spans bacterial, fungal, archael and algal bioprocesses with application in biohydrometallurgy, acid mine drainage prevention and treatment, maximizing resource productivity, bioenergy products, biocommodities from wastes, fine chemicals, neutraceuticals and expression of niche peptides and proteins. Through these she focuses on microbial community dynamics, biokinetics, biological stress responses and process integration. She has a strong interest in the circular economy and on quantifying environmental burden associated with processes with the view to its minimisation. She collaborates actively with researchers at the universities of Mumbai, Duisberg-Essen, University of California – Berkeley, University of Melbourne, Exeter University, Cambridge University and Imperial College London and with industrial partners in South Africa and abroad.
Sue has taught actively into the chemical engineering and biotechnology programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the Universities of Cape Town and Cambridge. She served as Head of Department of Chemical Engineering from 1998 to 2002 and as Deputy Dean: Postgraduate and Research for the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment from 2010 to 2015. She holds the South African DST Research Chair in Bioprocess Engineering and is the director of CeBER, the Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research and of UCT’s interdisciplinary research institute, Future Water. In the innovation space, Sue was a founding member and later Chair of the Board of the Cape Biotechnology Trust, and served as a Board member of the Technology Innovation Agency.