Professor Mark Smales

Professor of Industrial Biotechnology,
Programme Lead for BSc Biochemistry
+44 (0)1227 (82)3746
Professor Mark Smales


Mark Smales is Professor of Industrial Biotechnology in the School of Biosciences at the University of Kent. The group headed by Mark has a number of on-going projects whose objectives are to further advance our understanding of biotechnological products and processes at the fundamental biological or chemical level to enable their manipulation and control for improved (a) biotherapeutic recombinant protein yields and quality, (b) manufacture of gene therapies, (c) re-tuning of cell metabolism via synthetic biology approaches. 

Mark's group in particular focuses on the investigation of cultured mammalian cells for the purposes of producing biotherapeutic proteins for the treatment of disease, for the generation of diagnostics and for manufacturing of gene therapies. This includes upstream and downstream bioprocessing, and embracing and utilising novel technologies such as genome editing to engineer cell systems and tune them for the desired use. 

A further aspect of his work is around mRNA translation and its control. He has a particular interest in how both initiation and elongation message-specific control is achieved by the cell when under specific stresses, particularly in response to cold-shock.

Mark is Director of the Industrial Biotechnology Centre and a member of the Industrial Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology Research Group.

Research interests

Cell and metabolic engineering, therapeutic recombinant protein biotechnology, gene therapy, vaccine technology, control of mRNA translation 

The focus of the research in the laboratory is to work on aspects relating to improving our understanding of the biology that underpins bioprocessing and recombinant protein production from cell expression systems, particularly in vitro cultured mammalian expression systems. 

The laboratory is recognised internationally for its work using cultured mammalian cells for in vitro research purposes, particularly in relation to investigating the cellular constraints on recombinant protein productivity, control of mRNA translation, and more recently its application to the manufacturing of gene therapies and vaccines. 

The lab has extensive experience in gene expression analysis in mammalian cell systems, specifically recombinant gene expression, and is ideally placed with strong biotechnological and industrial links to exploit this technology. 

Currently, the laboratory is funded via a number of BBSRC, EPSRC and industrial research grants and studentships. We are always interested in discussing potential projects and collaborations with academic and industrial colleagues.


If you are interested or wish to discuss graduate opportunities (Master's and PhD) or vacancies within the laboratory, please contact us.

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