Steven Ferguson

Principal Investigator - Process Engineering, Separations and Advanced Manufacturing Group


Steven Ferguson is a Principal Investigator in the National Institute for Bioprocess Research and Training focused on the development of downstream processing and advanced manufacturing technologies, for separation and purification of biopharmaceuticals and advanced therapeutic medicinal products. He is also currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, in University College Dublin (UCD) and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. He currently is a theme lead in manufacturing research for the SSPC, the Science Foundation Ireland research center for pharmaceuticals and leads a targeted SPOKE project on 3D-printed technologies in pharmaceutical manufacturing at I-form, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing. In addition to these roles he leads a number of targeted research projects, in direct collaboration with multinational pharmaceutical companies aiming at deploying novel technologies in the development and manufacturing of drugs.

Dr. Ferguson received a BE from the School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering in UCD. He remained at UCD to undertake a PhD in Prof Brian Glennon’s research Group studying continuous crystallization of drugs as part of the SSPC Research Cluster. This was the first continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing research conducted in Ireland, a theme which subsequently became a main focus of the SSPC, the SFI Pharmaceutical Research Centre. Dr. Ferguson then moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to work as a Postdoctoral Researcher as part of the Novartis -MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing, a $100 million dollar investment by Novartis to transform the manufacturing of medicines, under the supervision of Prof Allan Myerson and Center Director Prof Bernhardt Trout. Following this Dr. Ferguson worked as a Scientist within Biogen in Cambridge, MA, working in the research, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics and associated technologies, before returning to Ireland to work as an academic.


Research Interests

Dr. Ferguson’s research is focuses on the development of novel technologies with the potential for commercial or societal impact primarily in the area of advanced manufacturing, separation and formulation of Pharmaceuticals, Biopharmaceuticals and ATMPs.

To this end he has assembled a multidisciplinary research portfolio with expertise in separation processes, downstream bioprocessing, process simulation, flow synthesis, unit operation & reactor design, chromatography, membrane separation, crystallization and formulation; structured to be vertically integrated to bring fundamental insights from multiphase systems, reactions or separations, through simulations and prototypes to actionable technologies.


  1. Downstream Biopharmaceutical Separation Processes:
  • Design, optimization and process simulation of Downstream Biopharmaceutical Processing Platforms.
  • Development of automated experimental platforms with integrated analysis.
  • Development of novel separation operations and platforms for Biopharmaceutical separations, enabled by 3D-printing.
  • Currently leading an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership in Downstream Processing of Biopharmaceuticals, in addition to a number of directly funded downstream biopharmaceutical research projects with Multinational pharmaceutical companies, across a number of recombinant protein modalities.


  1. Advanced Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals, Biopharmaceuticals and RNA therapeutics:
  • Advanced Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals, Biopharmaceuticals and RNA based therapeutics; associated activities include Process Simulation, Crystallization, Membrane Separation, Chromatography, Flow chemistry, CFD, Process Simulation, 3D-Printing of Processing Equipment/Reactors.
  • For each of these drug modalities the goal is to explore and develop highly intensive and automated manufacturing platforms to enable faster cheaper and more scalable supply of medicines, with core expertise in process engineering and separations.
  • Currently Theme Lead in Manufacturing in the SSPC Centre, the National SFI Centre for Pharmaceutical Research, coordinating activity in this area for the Centre. 
  • Led a significant Enterprise Ireland funded Innovation Partnership with Pfizer that has yielded a number of new purification technologies for use in flow synthesis and continuous manufacturing.
  • Leading a Targeted project within I-form, the National SFI Centre in Advanced Manufacturing. The collaboration aims to significantly intensify pharmaceutical synthesis and production through the development of novel 3D-printed reactors and separation unit operations, to facilitate intensified fully telescoped/integrated continuous flow synthesis of drugs, and thereby their manufacture within miniaturised printable chemical factories. 


  1. Formulation of Novel Drug Products:

UCD lead for SFI-EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in frontiers in pharmaceutical technology a joint PhD training program between SSPC the SFI Pharmaceutical Research Centre, University of Nottingham and University College London. Current work in the drug product space development of centres on novel Ionic Liquid & supramolecular complex based active pharmaceutical ingredients, and development of stabilized protein based biopharmaceutical products.

EPSRC & SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies

Centre for Doctoral Training in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies


I-FORM Advanced Manufacturing SFI Research Centre, Steven Ferguson

Steven Ferguson

Principal Investigator - Process Engineering, Separations and Advanced Manufacturing Group

Research Staff