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School of Engineering

Thien delivers Botsaris Lecture

Friday, April 19, 2019
Dr. Michael Thien of Merck & Co. Inc. delivered this year’s Gregory Botsaris Lecture in Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Dr. Thien delivers Botsaris Lecture in front of crowd

Addressing the audience at the Gregory Botsaris Lecture in Chemical and Biological Engineering on April 17, Dr. Michael Thien of Merck & Co. Inc. encouraged engineering students to realize their potential to impact the biopharmaceutical industry and human health in a meaningful way. He argued that chemical and biological engineers are essential activators tasked with bringing discoveries within the biopharmaceutical industry to commercial scale and economic feasibility.

Thien has successfully developed methods to bring lifesaving biopharmaceuticals to market throughout his nearly 30-year career in chemical and biochemical engineering. He recounted the impact that engineers have had in the treatment of HIV and cancer, and the opportunity to eradicate HPV within the next decade.

 “Engineers are the conductors of the orchestra,” said Thien and are called on to connect research to the market. Without the power of engineers to scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing innovations, opportunities to improve human health around the world would not be possible.

Thien asked students to embrace challenges and uncertainty in their work. Across his career, he often had to create novel methods and processes to solve manufacturing problems. He encouraged the audience take on the jobs that have never been done before. “Develop subject matter expertise within your field and learn how to ask the next question outside of your field,” said Thien. The rapid improvement of human health biopharmaceuticals can only be achieved through the facilitation of engineers.

The Gregory Botsaris Lectureship was established in 2006 in recognition of Professor Emeritus Gregory Botsaris’s outstanding leadership and invaluable contributions to the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Colleagues, friends, alumni, and current faculty members have contributed to the Gregory Botsaris Fund, which supports this biannual chemical engineering lectureship series, recognizes outstanding students, and provides critical funding for programs of importance to the department. Read more about Professor Botsaris and the Gregory Botsaris Fund.