Prof Alvin Nienow

FREng, BSc(Eng), PhD, DSc, Dhc, CEng, CSci, MAIChE, FIChemE, FHEA, HonMCzSChE

Honorary Professor of Biochemical Engineering

+44 (0) 121 472 4226
[email protected]


Professor Nienow
Prof Alvin Nienow
I began my career in 1958, after graduating from University College London with a first class honours bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. I then spent four years in industry and teaching at West Ham College of Technology (now East London University) before returning to UCL as a lecturer in 1963. In 1968, I obtained a PhD and in 1980, a higher doctorate, a DSc. I stayed with UCL until 1980, when I became Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, UK. From here I became the university’s Director of Biochemical Engineering in 1989 and an Emeritus Professor in 2004.  In 2012 I was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Loughborough University. I am best known for my work in fluid mixing and bioprocessing. I have held some 80 grants, have published over 400 refereed papers and have been cited more than 5,000 times.
BSc (Eng) in Chemical Engineering with First Class Honours, University College London

PhD, University College London
DSc (Eng), University College London

1963 – 1980: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, University College London
1980 – 1989: Professor of Chemical Engineering, The University of Birmingham
1989 – 2004: Professor of Biochemical Engineering, The University of Birmingham
2004 – present: Emeritus Professor of Biochemical Engineering, The University of Birmingham

 Mixing and Transport Phenomena in Stirred Reactors and Bioreactors.

Micro- and Macromixing Studies in Two- and Three-Phase (Gas-Solid-Liquid) Stirred Chemical Reactors, Huntsman ICI Europe BVBA (with W Bujalski), 2007

Developing Scalable and Standardised Manufacturing Methods for Human Pluripotent Stem Cells, BRIC, (with Loughborough and Nottingham Universities), 2008
Catalytic Advances for Sustainable Technologies (CASTech), EPSRC (with Queen's University, Belfast, University of Cambridge, Borregaard, Forestry Commission Research Agency, Robinson Brothers, Johnson Matthey and Sasol) (with A W Pacek and M J Simmons), 2008

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, 1984
Honorary Member of the Czech Society of Chemical Engineering, 2008
Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, 1981
Member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2000
Chartered Engineer, 1982
Chartered Scientist, 2003.

  • The Moulton Medal; Institution of Chemical Engineers for paper, “Particle-Gas-Liquid Mixing in Stirred Vessels (Part I to IV)”, Chemical Engineering Research and Design (with C.M. Chapman, M. Cooke and J.C. Middleton) for “the most notable contribution during 1983 to their published records”, 1984.
  • The Jan E Purkyne Medal; The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic for services to Czech Chemical Engineering, 1993.
  • Eminent Speaker; Institution of Engineers (Australia) Chemical Colleges, 1999.
  • The Donald Medal; Institution of Chemical Engineers Subject Group on Biochemical Engineering for "lifetime contribution", 2000.
  • Lifetime Recognition Award”; European Federation of Chemical Engineers for “Significant Lifetime Contribution to Mixing Research and Practice”, 2003.
  • Special Issue, Transactions of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, Part A, published in his honour on the occasion of his retirement, September 2004.
  • Honorary Life Chairman, Institution of Chemical Engineers Fluid Mixing Processes Subject Group, Sept., 2004.
  • Honorary Member of the Czech Society of Chemical Engineering, 2008.
  • Medal no 441 of Szczecin University of Technology for ‘Special Contributions’ (as part of its celebrations as it combined with the Agricultural Academy of Szczecin to form the West-Pomeranian University of Technology), 2008.
  • Plenary Lecture Award, Pharmaceutical Group, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2009.
  • Doctor honoris causa, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland, 2010
  • Paper, "X-ray Studies of Cavern Sizes and Mixing Performance with Fluids Possessing a Yield Stress", (with TP Elson and DJ Cheesman), Chem. Eng. Sci., 41, (1986), 2555-2562 voted one of the 21 most influential papers on mixing by the AIChE’s North American Mixing Forum, 2011.
  • Doctor honoris causa, Loughborough University, UK, 2012
  • WInner of the prestigious Peter Dunhill Medal, 2018

Book Chapters

  • “Mixing Issues in Crystallization and Precipitation Operations”, (with E. L. Paul); In “Advances in Industrial Mixing: A Companion to the Handbook of Industrial Mixing”, (Eds., S. M. Kresta, A. W. Etchells III, D. S. Dickey and V. Atiemo-Obeng), Wiley-Interscience, New York, USA, Chapter 25, 2015,
  • “Mass Transfer and Mixing Across the Scales in Animal Cell Culture”, Chapter 5, in Animal Cell Culture, Cell Engineering 9, (Ed. M. Al-Rubeai), Springer International, 2015, pp 137 – 169
  • “Stirred Tank Reactors”. In: Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry (7th Edition), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. Weinheim, Germany, vol 34, pp.415-432, 2011
  • “Impeller Selection: Animal Cell Culture”. In: Encyclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology,  (Ed,  M. C.  Flickinger), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2010; Vol. 5, pp 2959-2971.
  • “Scale-Up, Stirred Tank Reactors”.  In: Encyclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology, (Ed,  M. C.  Flickinger), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2010; Vol. 7, pp 4328 - 4341.

Research Articles

  • “Agitation Conditions for the Culture and Detachment of hMSCs from Microcarriers in Multiple Bioreactor Platforms”, (with C.J. Hewitt, T.R.J. Heathman, V.A.M. Glyn, G.N. Fonte, M.P. Hanga, K. Coopman, Q.A. Rafiq), Biochem. Eng. J.,  2015;
  • “The Translation of Cell-based Therapies: Clinical Landscape and Manufacturing Challenges”, (with T. R. J. Heathman, M. J. McCall, K. Coopman, B. Kara and C. J. Hewitt), Regen. Med. 10, (2015) 49–64
  • “Stirring and Stirred Tank Reactors”, Chem. Ing Tech., 86, (2014) 2063 - 2074 (Special Issue for the 100th Anniversary of Uhlmann’s Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology),
  • “Culture of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Microcarriers in a 5 L Stirred-Tank Bioreactor”. (with Q. A. Rafiq, K. M. Brosnan, K. Coopman and C.J. Hewitt), Biotechnol. Lett., 35, (2013):1233-1245; DOI 10.1007/s10529-013-1211-9
  • “The Physical Characterisation of a Microscale Parallel Bioreactor Platform with an Industrial CHO Cell Line Expressing an IgG4”, (with C.D. Rielly, K. M. Brosnan, N. Bargh, K. Lee, K. Coopman and C.J. Hewitt), Biochem. Eng., J., 76, (2013), 25 – 36,
  • “Scale-Down Studies for Assessing the Impact of Different Stress Parameters on Growth and Product Quality during Animal Cell Culture”, (with W. H. Scott, C. J. Hewitt, C. R. Thomas, G. Lewis, A. Amanullah, R. Kiss and S. J. Meier), Chem. Eng. Res. Des., 91, (2013), 2265–2274,
  • “A Quantitative Approach for Understanding Small-Scale Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Culture – Implications for Large-Scale Bioprocess Development”, (with Q. A. Rafiq, K. Coopman and C.J. Hewitt), Biotechnol. J., 8, (2013), 459-471
  • “On the Generation of Hydrogen Gas during the Catalytic Oxidation of Sodium Lignosulphonate to Vanillin: Initial Results”, (with P. Ding, M. Garrett, Ø. Loe and A.W. Pacek), Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 51, (2012),184-188
  • “The Large Scale Expansion and Exploitation of Pluripotent Stem Cells for Regenerative Medicine Purposes: Beyond the T-Flask”, (with A. J. Want, C. J. Hewitt and K. Coopman), Regen. Med., 7, (2012), 71–84.
  • “Lagrangian Tools for the Analysis of Mixing in Single- and Multi-Phase Flow Systems” (with A. Guida and M. Barigou), AIChE Journal, 58, (2012), 31 – 45.
  • "Further Studies of Micromixing: Scale-up, Baffling and Feed Pipe Backmixing", (with M. Assirelli and S. P. Lee), J. Chem. Eng., Japan, 44, (2011), 901 -907.
  • “Expansion of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Microcarriers”, (with C. J. Hewitt, K. Lee, R. J. Thomas, M. Smith and C. R. Thomas), Biotechnol. Letters, 33, (2011), 2325-2335
  • "Scale-Down/Scale-up Studies Leading to Improved Commercial Beer Fermentation", (with M. Nordkvist and C. J. Boulton), Biotechnol. J., 6, (2011), 911 – 925
  • “Using Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT) to Study the Turbulent Flow in a Baffled Vessel Agitated by a Rushton Turbine: Improving Data Treatment and Validation”, (with F. Chiti, S. Bakalis, W. Bujalski, M. Barigou and A. Eaglesham), Chem. Eng. Res. Des., (Trans. I Chem Eng. Part A), 89, (2011), 1947 -1960.
  • “Micromixing in Two-phase (g-l and s-l) Systems in a Stirred Vessel”, (with J. Hofinger, R. W. Sharpe, W. Bujalski, S. Bakalis, M. Assirelli and A. Eaglesham), Can. J. Chem. Eng., 89, (2011), 1029-1039.
  • “The Effects of the Azimuthal Position of the Measurement Plane on the Flow Parameters Determined by PIV within a Stirred Vessel”, (with A. Guida and M. Barigou), Chem. Eng. Sci., 65, (2010), 2454-2463