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Prof Paul Dalby
Dept Biochemical Engineering, UCL
Bernard Katz Building, Gordon Street
Prof Paul Dalby profile picture
  • Professor of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology
  • Dept of Biochemical Engineering
  • Faculty of Engineering Science

Paul Dalby is a Professor in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology at UCL, Deputy Head of the UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering, Co-Director of the EPSRC Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub, Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Macromolecular Therapies, Associate Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Other current and previous roles include:

- Elected Management Board Member of BBSRC BioProNet (2015 – to date)

- RSC Chemistry Biology Interface Division committee (2014-2016)

- BBSRC Bioprocess Research Industry Club (BRIC) Steering Group Member (2013-2016)

- Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry Biotechnology Interest Group (2008 – to date)

- IBLF Industrial Biotechnology Skills Group member (2012-2017)

UKRI FLF Peer Review College Member (2018 – to date)

- BBSRC Research Grant Panel Committee D core member (2011- 2014)

Paul joined UCL as a principle investigator in April 2000. Prior to UCL he was a Postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, with Prof Bill DeGrado.  He graduated with a Natural Sciences degree from the University of Cambridge and received his PhD in 1998, also from the University of Cambridge, for work on protein engineering and protein folding under the guidance of Sir Prof Alan Fersht at the MRC Centre for Protein Engineering. 

Research Summary

Paul Dalby leads research at UCL on the application of protein engineering and biophysics to address key challenges in protein formulation, aggregation and manufacturing, as well as to generate novel enzyme biocatalysts for small molecule manufacturing.

His research focuses on protein engineering and formulation methods to improve the stability and activity of biocatalytic enzymes and therapeutic proteins, for ease of manufacture and delivery to patients.  His work combines computationally-guided protein engineering and formulation, with biophysical characterisations, to understand the factors that influence protein stability, and then feeding back to inform the protein engineering strategies.  

Paul has pioneered the use of smart directed evolution libraries guided by protein structure analysis, substrate docking in silico, and bioinformatics. He has used this to improve the stability, activity, substrate range and enantioselectivity of a range of biocatalytic enzymes. Collaborating with Professor John Ward (Biochemical Engineering) and Dr Helen Hailes (Chemistry), novel enzymes have been engineered which produce complex chiral molecules with reversed enantioselectivities to those observed in the parent enzyme. He also pioneered (and patented) the concept of substrate walking for iteratively evolving an enzyme towards acceptance of progressively more distant substrates.

A major focus of Paul's work is to elucidate aggregation mechanisms in therapeutic protein formulations, in both the liquid and freeze-dried states.  He has established automated techniques to formulate proteins, and to evaluate their stability in response to excipients, both conformationally, and kinetically. He collaborates extensively with Dr Paul Matejtschuk (NIBSC), and Prof Stephen Perkins (UCL) to achieve these aims. He is also Co-Director of the EPSRC Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub, which in partnership with nearly 40 UK companies, aims to tackle the challenges emerging in the manufacture of increasingly stratified protein therapies, and personalised (precision) cell therapies such as CAR-T.  He has developed novel microplate-based screening techniques for protein stability, protein refolding, and enzyme activity that will enable the rapid design of enhanced bioprocesses, formulations and delivery of therapeutic proteins. In recent BBSRC (BRIC) supported research, in collaboration with the London Centre for Nanotechnology, he established these techniques within an even more high-throughput and less sample intensive microfluidic device, which also enabled optical heating to be coupled to optical interrogation of label-free samples.


Funding for the above research has come from the UK BBSRC, EPSRC, the TSB Technology Programme and a range of company collaborators.

Since July 2008 Paul has been Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Biotechnology Interest Group which aims to engage academia, industry and the public in debate and scientific discussion on advances in Biotechnology. He received the Evonik European Science-to-Business Award in November 2008 for his work on engineering enzyme routes for the production of chiral intermediates.

Teaching Summary

Paul's teaching activities span all years of the various degree course programmes operated by the Department. He coordinates several modules including Protein Biochemistry and Biophysics for Engineers (Yr2 UG), Chemistry for Biochemical Engineers (Yr3 UG), and the post-experience MBI training module in Antibody Targeted Therapy. He also teaches aspects of protein biochemistry, formulation, enzyme kinetics, biocatalysis and protein engineering, on a range of other modules for undergraduate and Masters level students. 

Paul also has a key administrative role as Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies. 


Paul is also an External Examiner for the MSc in Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Sheffield (2017 – to date).

01-SEP-2009 Reader Biochemical Engineering University College London, United Kingdom
01-SEP-2007 – 01-SEP-2009 Senior Lecturer Biochemical Engineering UCL, United Kingdom
01-APR-2000 – 01-SEP-2007 Lecturer Biochemical Engineering UCL, United Kingdom
15-JAN-1998 – 15-JAN-2000 Postdoctoral Research Fellow School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania, United States
01-SEP-1994 – 15-JAN-1998 PhD MRC Centre for Protein Engineering University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1997   Doctor of Philosophy University of Cambridge
1994   Master of Arts University of Cambridge
1993   Bachelor of Arts (Honours) University of Cambridge
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