Harry Van den Akker
Professor, Fluid Mechanics, University of Limerick, Ireland
“A bird’s eye view on 50 years of mixing”

Professor Harry E.A. Van den Akker, with a PhD degree from Eindhoven University of Technology, started in 1977 as a research engineer at the Royal/Dutch Shell Laboratories, Amsterdam (KSLA) and spent a year (1984/85) at Shell Oil Westhollow Research Center in Houston, TX. In 1988, he was appointed Full Professor of Transport Phenomena at Delft University of Technology and Director of the ‘Kramers Laboratorium voor Fysische Technologie’.

When in 2002 this Laboratorium merged with other groups to form the Department of Multi-Scale Physics, he became Head of Department. He retained this position until in 2012 this Department was dissolved. Since 2013, he has been the Bernal Professor of Fluid Mechanics at the University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland, while retaining a part-time affiliation with ‘Delft’. In all those years, he has been supervising 40 PhD students.

Harry Van den Akker organised European Mixing X in 2000 in Delft, was Visiting Professor at King’s College, London, UK (2000-2003) and spent a short sabbatical at Princeton University in 2012. He was appointed the 2018 Burgers Visiting Professor of Fluid Mechanics at the University of Maryland and the 2021 ‘William R. Kenan Jr.’ Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University.

Harry received the 2011 Master Teacher Award for Excellence at Delft University. In 2013, his 1999 paper (with Dr Jos Derksen) in AIChE Journal on lattice Boltzmann Large Eddy Simulations of a stirred vessel was selected by the North American Mixing Forum (NAMF) as one of the 21 most influential contributions to the field of mixing. In 2015, he was awarded the 2015 BHR Group Lifetime Recognition Award in Mixing by the EFCE ‘Working Party on Mixing’.

Martina Micheletti
Professor, Bioprocess Fluid Dynamics, University College London, UK
“Mixing and scaling challenges in novel biopharmaceutical applications”

Martina is a Professor of Bioprocess Fluid Dynamics in the department of Biochemical Engineering at University College London. She has a first degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Pisa and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from King’s College London and has been at UCL since 2004. Martina leads research in mixing and fluid dynamics applied to bioprocesses and has applied her novel techniques and rigorous approach to obtain fundamental understanding of single-use bioreactor technologies and in increasingly important sectors like cell and gene therapy products, continuous production of monoclonal antibodies and vaccine manufacture. She has received several industrial awards and led collaborations with companies like Pfizer, MSD, AstraZeneca, among others. Since 2018 she has been Director of the UCL-Oxford Future Research Vaccine Manufacturing Hub (Vax-Hub) with Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, aimed at developing lost-cost vaccines for low- and middle-income countries and whose work has been instrumental to the rapid development of the viral vectored vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. Martina is currently the Director of the recently awarded EPSRC Manufacturing Hub for a sustainable future (2023-2030) aimed at development of vaccines for pandemic preparedness.

Irina Ramos
Director, Bioprocess Technologies & Engineering, AstraZeneca, USA
“Mixing and processing in Pharma and vaccine industry”

Irina Ramos is a Director of downstream continuous manufacturing, in the Bioprocess Engineering and Technology group at AstraZeneca in Gaithersburg, MD, USA. She has been a key driver of the technology development and implementation strategy for continuous biomanufacturing. Her team works to increase fundamental understanding of the various downstream unit operations of drug substance manufacturing. They manage the design, testing and qualification of process equipment and automation on the systems to integrate them.
Irina holds a BS/MS in Chemical Engineering from University of Porto (Portugal) and a PhD in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) (USA). She has been involved with the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) Process Intensification program by leading the Control Strategy workstream since 2020.
For the past 14 years, Irina’s work in the pharmaceutical industry has spanned from early to late-stage process development and validation, process scalability, CMC and technology transfer to both clinical and commercial manufacturing. In 2020-22 Irina lead a Technology Transfer team for the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing process, as part of a global cross-functional team that successfully provided a substantial proportion of global COVID-19 vaccine supply at low cost (170 countries).
Irina has been teaching a class on Downstream Process Development, as part of the Professional Masters in Biotechnology from UMBC, since 2015. She is passionate about mentorship and developing resources to improve the communication of science.