Dr Petra (Mariana) Hanga

Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering


Orcid ID: orcid.org/0000-0002-2427-4052

Tel: +44 (0) 121 204 3161
Email: m.hanga@aston.ac.uk
Room: MB438F

School of Life & Health Sciences
Aston University
Aston Triangle, B4 7ET

Dr Petra (Mariana) Hanga

 Imagine you are a Senior Scientist that was asked to develop a process for manufacturing Stem Cells to be used as Cell Therapies to target a wide range of diseases. Where would you start?

My whole carrier to date, I have been trained exactly for this scenario. In 2007, I have graduated with Honours as a Biochemical Engineer from Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. After working as a Chemical Engineer in Cluj-Napoca, Romania for 1.5 years, I have decided that Chemical Engineering is not sufficiently challenging for me. As a result, in 2009, I have moved countries to start my PhD as part of the Doctoral Training Centre in Regenerative Medicine at Loughborough University, UK. During my PhD project, I have addressed one of the key challenges in the manufacturing of Stem Cells and that was focused on non-enzymatic and non-damaging cell harvesting at the end of the culture. During my PhD, I have designed and engineered a proof-of-concept temperature-responsive microcarrier to be used as cell attachment substrate at large scales in bioreactors. These microcarriers were cheap to produce and allowed for non-enzymatic cell harvest in situ by simply lowering the temperature from 37ºC (physiological temperature) to room temperature.

After developing a taste for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells, in 2014, I have started working on an even more challenging and exciting project funded by the BBSRC Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC) which is a closed member club with strong links to industry, having companies such as Pall Life Sciences, GSK, MedImmune, ReNeuron, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies and many others involved. This project focused on addressing the same challenge, but from a different perspective by developing and designing an alternative and cost-effective cell culture process based on a liquid/liquid two phase system, to be used at large scales in bioreactors. In this scenario, the cells attached to ‘temporary microcarriers’ and at the end of the process, cell harvest was achieved by disassembling the temporary microcarriers.

  • 2019 – Fellow of the Higher Education of Academy, PGCert, Aston University, UK

  • 2014 – PhD in Regenerative Medicine, Doctoral Training Centre in Regenerative Medicine, Loughborough University, UK
  • 2007 – MEng (Hons) Biochemical Engineering, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  •  January 2017 – to date: Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering, School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
  • January 2014 – December 2016: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Centre for Biological Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  • BI4110 – Applied Biotechnology (Module Leader)
  • BE3BRM – Biotechnology and Regenerative Medicine (Module Leader)
  • BI4060 – Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering (Lecturer on Biomaterials in regenerative Medicine and Scale up and Storage of Stem Cells)
  • BY3BT1 - Bioprocessing of Therapeutics (Module Leader)
  • BI4104 - Cellular differentiation (Practical Leader)

My research interests cover:

  • Stem cell bioprocessing
  • Human mesenchymal stem cells
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Scale up / bioreactors
  • Clean meat


PhD studentship (School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University) £70,824 (2017-2020)

Advancing the production of clean beef towards commercialisation (The Good Food Institute Award) $210,088 (2019-2020)


  • Mr Fritz de la Raga (Supervisor; Petra Hanga; Co-supervisors: Eric Hill, Christopher Hewitt): Development of a manufacturing process for iPSCs and tissue specific progenitors


  • Available to take up PhD students in subjects related to Stem Cells, Bioprocessing, Biomaterials
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

  • Associate Member of IChemE (AMIChemE)

  • Committee member of Biochemical Engineering Subject Interest Group (BESIG) IChemE

  • BESIG IChemE Travel Bursary Secretary

  • Biotechnology Letters Journal – editorial board

  • Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES) member