BioManufacturing Center

Meet Our Staff

lawton_carl_optCarl W. Lawton, Ph.D.

Dr. Carl W. Lawton is director of the Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center (MBMC) and associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UMass Lowell.

As director of the MBMC, Dr. Lawton is responsible for overseeing the coordination and completion of process development client services including expression development, fermentation and cell culture development, downstream processing, process optimization and characterization. Dr. Lawton works closely with companies on the verge of biopharmaceutical production to give them the opportunity to utilize the Center’s services to economically address staffing needs and learning curve constraints and to optimize time to market.

Dr. Lawton creates and teaches customized training programs for biopharmaceutical manufacturing workforce as well as advising and teaching undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of chemical and biochemical engineering and other fields. He also is responsible for developing and maintaining an applied research program which focuses on technological advances to improve the quality, cost and productivity of large-scale biomanufacturing production.

Before joining UMass Lowell and creating the MBMC, Dr. Lawton was a bioengineering process consultant to companies on both the east and west US coasts and in Canada.

Ana Lages, MSc, MPhil 

Ana Lages is MBMC Director of Cell Culture. Ana currently overseas the mammalian cell culture operations of the MBMC. Ana held senior management positions in mammalian cells process development covering a range of products from recombinant proteins to cell therapies to vaccines.

Ana's industrial experience includes T Cell Sciences, Genzyme, Baxter Biosciences, and Wyeth. Her 17 years of industrial experience encompasses cell culture, fermentation, tissue engineering, scale up, process optimization, and bioreactor design.

Jin Xu, Ph.D.

Dr. Jin Xu. is the director of the MBMC Protein Analysis and Characterization laboratory and an assistant professor in the UMass Lowell Chemistry Department. Dr. Xu currently oversees and actively participates in protein structural/functional studies, protein product characterization and analytical development at MBMC. With his expertise in protein chemistry and biophysics, Dr. Xu also designs and conducts studies on the relationship between protein folding and protein productivity/quality.

Before joining UMass Lowell, Dr. Xu received his Ph.D in Biochemistry from the University of North Texas. Afterwards he worked as senior research scientist and principal scientist at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals for over five years, before most recently establishing and leading the protein chemistry group at Percivia, LLC.

Seongkyu Yoon, Ph. D.

Dr. Yoon is a newly appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Umass Lowell. Dr. Yoon previously worked at Biogen-Idec Biopharmaceutical Inc. as a Process Analytics group manager of Manufacturing Sciences. Dr. Yoon completed a Ph. D at McMaster University, Hamilton, in September 2001. The thesis entitled Using External Information for Statistical Process Control focuses on process monitoring and fault detection. After the Ph. D completion, he worked at Umetrics in Kinnelon, New Jersey, with Dr. Svante Wold and Nouna Kettaneh who are two industrial leaders in multivariate statistics application. He was in charge of consulting and teaching on multivariate data analysis, experimental design, and batch analysis.

Donato B. Vespa, Ph.D.

Dr. Donato B. Vespa is the MBMC laboratory manager with over seven years experience in recombinant protein process development. He is responsible for coordination and completion of client projects that include microbial fermentations, cell culture, protein purification and cGLP production. Don also trains and supervises laboratory technicians in various techniques including electrophoresis, HPLC and spectrophotometric analysis.

Before working with Dr. Lawton, Don worked for over five years with the Center for Chronic Disease Control performing in vivo and in vitro studies of drug substances and creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) for chemical analysis at the Center.