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Prof Paul Dalby
Dept Biochemical Engineering, UCL
Bernard Katz Building, Gordon Street
  • 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 University College London, where he has been a principle investigator since April 2000. His protein engineering research has a distinctly bioprocess flavour which aims to address key challenges in rapid industrial process development using a combination of novel automated microscale and microfluidic methods, as well as employing directed evolution and bioinformatics to improve biocatalytic enzymes under biotransformation process conditions.

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. He then undertook a Postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Paul Dalby leads research at UCL on the application of protein engineering and biophysics in the fields of biocatalysis and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. 

Research Summary

As part of the Bioconversion-Chemistry-Engineering Interface (BiCE) Programme, Paul Dalby has applied a combination of directed evolution and bioinformatics to improve the activity and substrate specificity of biocatalytic enzymes under biotransformation process conditions. Closely collaborating with Professor John Ward (Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology) 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. The BiCE programme, led by Prof Gary Lye, involves a multidisciplinary team of researchers from three UCL faculties, and aims to establish novel techniques that speed the development of the next generation of complex pharmaceuticals. It is supported by a group of 13 leading national and international companies who comprise the BiCE Industrial Steering Group.

A major focus of Paul's work is to establish new biophysical techniques and use them alongside existing ones to characterise the protein structure events which affect protein stability, aggregation and response to formulation additives during liquid storage, freeze-drying, and protein refolding. 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 Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies, which in partnership with nearly 30 UK companies, aims to establish rapid evaluation tools for protein candidate behaviour during manufacturing.  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. More recent BBSRC (BRIC) funding will develop this technology further.  Paul has also collaborated with Dirk Werling at the Royal Veterinary College, Hatfield UK to develop novel protein conjugate vaccines for animal diseases.

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 Subject 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 current teaching activities span all years of the various degree course programmes operated by the Department. He coordinates several modules including: Introduction to Biochemical Engineering (Yr1 UG), Protein Biochemistry and Biophysics for Engineers (Yr2 UG), Research Projects (Yr4 UG), and the post-experience MBI training module in Biocatalysis. He also teaches aspects of protein biochemistry, enzyme kinetics, biocatalysis and protein engineering, on a range of other modules for undergraduate and Masters level students. 

Paul also has administrative roles as Departmental Research Admissions Tutor, and as Director of an EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies.

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 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Biological Chemistry University of Cambridge
1994 MA Master of Arts – Natural Sciences University of Cambridge
1993 BA Hons Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Natural Sciences University of Cambridge
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