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Prof Jan Sefcik

Chemical and Process Engineering


The impact of deuterium oxide on the properties of resorcinol-formaldehyde gels
Prostredny Martin, Ballantine Jack, Sefcik Jan, Fletcher Ashleigh J.
Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology, (2018)
Rapid continuous antisolvent crystallization of multi-component systems
Raza Syed A., Schacht Ulrich, Svoboda Vaclav, Edwards Darren P., Florence Alastair J., Pulham Colin R., Sefcik Jan, Oswald Iain D. H.
Crystal Growth and Design Vol 18, pp. 210-218, (2018)
Scalable continuous production of high quality HKUST-1 via conventional and microwave heating
McKinstry Colin, Cussen Edmund J., Fletcher Ashleigh J., Patwardhan Siddharth V., Sefcik Jan
Chemical Engineering Journal Vol 326, pp. 570-577, (2017)
Enabling digitisation of continuous manufacturing processes : the role of image analysis
Cardona Javier, Ferreira Carla Sofia, McGinty John, Hamilton Andrew, Agimelen Okpeafoh, Cleary Alison, Chen Yi-Chieh, Sefcik Jan, Michie Walter, Atkinson Robert, Andonovic Ivan, Tachtatzis Christos
Network Plus: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age Conference 2017, (2017)
Crystallization diagram for antisolvent crystallization of lactose : using design of experiments to investigate continuous mixing- induced supersaturation
Macfhionnghaile Pól, Svoboda Vaclav, McGinty John, Nordon Alison, Sefcik Jan
Crystal Growth and Design Vol 17, pp. 2611-2621, (2017)
Continuous cocrystallization of benzoic acid and isonicotinamide by mixing-induced supersaturation : exploring opportunities between reactive and antisolvent crystallization concepts
Svoboda Vaclav, MacFhionnghaile Pól, McGinty John, Connor Lauren E., Oswald Iain D. H., Sefcik Jan
Crystal Growth and Design Vol 17, pp. 1902-1909, (2017)

more publications

Research interests

Our research deals with materials and processes at colloidal (nanometer to micrometer) length scales. The focus is on synthesis and processing of particulate, colloidal and biomolecular systems.

Particle formation processes/pharmaceutical engineering

Numerous pharmaceutical particulates are formed through antisolvent driven processes, where two solutions are mixed in order to create a thermodynamic driving force for particle formation due to a limited solubility of one or more solutes in the resulting solvent mixture. Such processes are often mixing controlled and can lead to a wide range of intermediate and/or metastable liquid or solid phases. We study kinetics and mechanisms of these processes in order to design and novel continuous processes for manufacturing of nanostructured particles for various pharmaceutical applications. We also study subsequent downstream processes and their effects on resulting particulate products.

Protein Aggregation

Understanding, controlling and utilizing colloidal interactions of proteins is crucial for their downstream processing, including purification, sterilization and storage. Protein interactions with each other determine whether they stay stable in solution or whether they aggregate. Understanding and tuning of protein interactions is thus necessary for improvement of the lifetime stability of therapeutic proteins as well as for rational development of novel separation and sensing procedures for bioprocessing. In fact, there are numerous issues in biotechnology and biomedical engineering, where protein aggregation phenomena have been identified as key factors controlling our success in producing, sensing, handling, and applying biomaterials and therapeutics as desired. We study protein aggregation in solutions under non-equilibrium conditions. The proteins of interest include enzymes and therapeutic proteins in applications such as heat treatment or bioseparations. The modelling work is focused in detailed scattering and spectroscopic characterisation of aggregating protein systems as well as on development and validation of population balance models describing how the mass distribution, structure and activity of protein aggregates evolve in time.

Professional activities

European Summer School on Crystal Nucleation
Invited speaker
Crystallize COST Action CM1402 Annual Meeting
Keynote/plenary speaker
5th European Conference on Crystal Growth
Invited presentation at GSK, Stevenage, UK
Faraday Discussion 179
Invited speaker
Invited Seminar, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
Invited speaker

more professional activities


CMAC Core project: Antisolvent
Florence, Alastair (Principal Investigator) Sefcik, Jan (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2017 - 30-Sep-2018
Placement Agreement
Sefcik, Jan (Principal Investigator)
Period 08-Jan-2018 - 10-Apr-2018
Enabling manufacturing of Functional Nanomaterials
Zimbitas, Georgina (Researcher) Sefcik, Jan (Principal Investigator)
his year, the global demand for nanomaterial, which is already a multi-billion$ industry, will have grown 2.5-fold since 2012. Current nanomaterials production methods are at least 1000 times more wasteful when compared to the production of bulk and fine chemicals. Consequently there is an urgent need to develop green production methods for nanomaterials which can allow greater control over materials properties, yet require less energy, produce less waste (i.e. eco-friendly) and are cost-effective. Nature produces more than 60 distinct inorganic nanomaterials (e.g. CaCO3, Fe3O4, silica) on the largest of scales through self-assembly under ambient conditions (biomineralisation). Although biological methods for nanomaterials synthesis (e.g. using microorganisms or complex enzymes) are effective in reducing environmental burden, they are expensive, inefficient and/or currently not scalable to industrial production. We will adopt a synthetic biology (SynBim) approach, which is one of the EPSRC's core strategic themes, by harnessing the biological principles to design advanced nanomaterials leading to novel manufacturing methods. SynBim is a very powerful tool for the production of high-precision advanced functional nanomaterials and our approach marries two of the "8 great technologies for the future" ("Synthetic Biology" and "Advanced Nanomaterials"). Instead of using cells or microbes, our SynBim strategy uses synthetic molecules (SynBim additives) inspired from biomineralisation. SynBim produces a wide range of well-defined and tunable nanomaterials under mild (ambient) conditions, quickly and with little waste. Our SynBim approach offers the potential for high-yields, like the traditional chemical precipitation method, together with the precision, customisation, efficiency and low waste of biomineralisation.The bulk of research on bioinspired synthesis of nanomaterials has been performed at small scales and, although there are good opportunities for developing nanomaterials manufacturing based on bioinspired approaches, there are no reports on larger-scale investigations. Adopting a bioinspired SynBim approach, this project will enable the controlled synthesis and scalability of silica and magnetic nanoparticles (SNP and MNP) which are worth ~$11 billion globally. These methods are far more amenable to scale-up and can truly be considered 'green'. This SynBim process can reduce the manufacturing carbon footprint (by >90%), thus providing a significant cost benefit to industry.
Period 01-Dec-2016 - 30-Nov-2020
Doctoral Training Centre In Continuous Manufacturing And Crystallisation / RS4912
Florence, Alastair (Principal Investigator) Sefcik, Jan (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Jul-2012 - 01-Jul-2012
GSK 112
Sefcik, Jan (Principal Investigator)
Period 16-Jan-2017 - 31-Jul-2017
Doctoral Training Centre In Continuous Manufacturing And Crystallisation | Mabbott, Fraser Adam
Florence, Alastair (Principal Investigator) Sefcik, Jan (Co-investigator) Mabbott, Fraser Adam (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2012 - 20-Sep-2017

more projects


Chemical and Process Engineering
James Weir Building

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