Dr Karen Polizzi is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Biotechnology in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London where she runs an interdisciplinary group focused on applying synthetic biology to the development of biological manufacturing processes. Her work includes the development of genetically-encoded biosensors to monitor critical factors in cellular metabolism as well as the application of cell-free protein synthesis to rapid process development. Karen has spent her career at the interface of life sciences and chemical engineering, obtaining first a BSC in Biochemistry, followed by a PhD in Chemical &Biomolecular Engineering. For her PhD she worked in the laboratory of Professor Andreas Bommarius at the Georgia Institute of Technology on developing generalized technologies to aid in the directed evolution of enzyme biocatalysts. She subsequently undertook postdoctoral research in the engineering protein-based biosensors at the University of Exeter. In 2008, she joined the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London as an independent research fellow and was subsequently promoted to lecturer. Karen transferred to the Department of Chemical Engineering in October 2018 where she continues to work at the life sciences interface.