Biochemical Engineering


Professor Paul Dalby

Professor of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training, Deputy Head of Department (Research) and Chair of the Research Committee

Professor Paul Dalby
  • Deputy Head (Research), Department of Biochemical Engineering.
  • Director of EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Innovative Manufacturing in EMT
  • Co-Director of EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in EMT
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2013-present) . Member since 2005.
  • Associate Member of the Institute of Chemical Engineers (2003-present)
  • Chair of the RSC Biotechnology Group Committee (2008-present). Member since 2003
  • Committee Member of the RSC Chemistry Biology Interface Division (2014-2016)
  • Editorial Board Member of Scientific Reports (2015-present)
  • Elected Management Board Member of BBSRC BioProNet (2015-present)
  • Steering Group Member of the BBSRC Bioprocess Research Industry Club (BRIC) (2013-2016)
  • Innovate UK IB Catalyst Panel Member (2014-2016)
  • BBSRC Research Grant Panel Committee D as core member (2011-2014)
  • Evonik European Science-to-Business Award (2008)
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, School of Medicine , University of Pennsylvania (1998-2000)
  • Gonville & Caius College Dunlop Scholarship (1994-1997)
  • Gonville & Caius College Senior Scholarship (1993-1994)
  • James Arthur Ramsay Prize in Chemistry & Biology (1993)

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

Joined UCL


Prof Paul Dalby is Co-Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies, Director of the associated EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.  His research focuses on routes to improve enzymes for biocatalysis and therapeutic proteins for ease of manufacture, formulation and delivery to patients.  His work combines protein engineering and formulation, with biophysical characterisations, to understand the factors that influence protein stability, and to guide protein engineering for improved properties.  

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 has 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 also 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. Current BBSRC (BRIC) funding is developing this technology further. 

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.

Award year Qualification Institution
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

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 aims to address key challenges in understanding protein formulation and aggregation, as well as to generate novel enzyme biocatalysts.

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 Philadelphia, with Bill DeGrado.  Paul Dalby leads research at UCL on the application of protein engineering and biophysics in the fields of biocatalysis and biopharmaceutical manufacturing and formulation. 


Biocatalysis|*|Drug discovery|*|Enzyme engineering|*|Fluorescence|*|Nanotechnology|*|Pathway engineering|*|Protein engineering|*|Synthetic Biology|*|computational design|*|high throughput|*|screening

Teaching and Training Activities

Paul’s current teaching activities span all years of the various degree course programmes operated by the Department. These include coordination of the Introduction to Biochemical Engineering and the final year research project modules, as well as the post-experience MBI® training module in Biocatalysis and the PhD/EngD induction training course. He also teaches aspects of biochemistry, enzyme kinetics, biocatalysis and protein engineering at all levels from undergraduate to Masters level students. In particular he manages teaching at the interface between biochemistry and biochemical engineering.