Nik Willoughby


+44 (0)131 451 4377
Room NF6
John Coulson Building
Heriot-Watt University

Nik has worked extensively in the areas of scale-up and purification of cellular therapies as well as recovery of biologically valuable material from low-value by-product and waste streams. Currently Nik’s cellular therapies research group is investigating the scale-up of manufacture of red blood cells as part of the NovoSang consortium (supported by SFC) and novel optical and acoustic cell separation techniques (supported by EPSRC). Other members of the group are investigating extraction of protein from the by-products of Quorn production (BBSRC/Innovate UK) and extension of Horizon Proteins’ technology to US whiskey and bourbon processes (IBioIC Exemplar). In addition, Horizon Proteins is currently supported by Scottish Enterprise under their High Growth Spin-out Program (HGSP)

Previous work has been supported by BBSRC-BRIC, EPSRC and SFC.

Current group members:

  • Dr Fiona Dempsey
  • Dr Jane White
  • Dr Julio Traub
  • Dr Abou Diallo
  • Dr Kelly Stewart
  • Dr Laura Volpati
  • Nicola Goddard
  • Marluce Oliveira Dias
  • Maryam Mohammed Zadeh
  • Jess Barkhuisen
  • Ewa Guzniczak
  • Robyn White
Selected publications
  • Elasticity of Human Embryonic Stem Cells as Determined by Atomic Force Microscopy. 2011. Kiss, Bock, Pells, Canetta, Adya, Moore, De Sousa, Willoughby. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 133:10, 101009
  • A 3D mammalian cell separator biochip. 2012. Choudhury, Ramsay, Kiss, Willoughby, Paterson, Kar. Lab Chip, 12, 948
  • Spectral conversion of light for enhanced microalgae growth rates and photosynthetic pigment production. 2012. Mohsenpour, Richards, Willoughby. Bioresource Technology 125C:75-81.
  • Luminescent photobioreactor design for improved algal growth and photosynthetic pigment production through spectral conversion of light. 2013. Mohsenpour, Willoughby. Bioresource Technology 142C:147-153.
  • Effect of CO2 aeration on cultivation of microalgae in luminescent photobioreactors. 2016. Mohsenpour, Willoughby. Biomass and Bioenergy 85:168-177

Nik is an Associate Professor in Bioprocessing and runs the Cellular Bioprocessing Group within the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering at Heriot Watt University as well as being one of the founders and a director of Horizon Proteins, a spin-out with the ambition of becoming Scotland's leading sustainable protein supplier for aquaculture feeds. Nik’s reseach interests focus on applying engineering principles to biological challenges, and has spent time in both industry and academia, in the former managing the Protein Purification group at Metris Therapeutics, and in the latter helping establish the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre for Bioprocessing at UCL before establishing the Cellular Bioprocessing Group at Heriot Watt.