UCL Centre for languages & international education (CLIE)


Nanotechnology in Medicine

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session 1
Module leader
Dr Kate Ricketts, Dr Gavin Jell
GPA of around 3.3/4.0 (US) or equivalent - please see below for subject-specific pre-requisites
Assessment method
Poster presentation (25%), Online quizzes (25%), 2-hour exam (50%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

The use of nanotechnology in medicine is an emerging field that can revolutionise the treatment and detection of disease. Through hands-on laboratory sessions, workshops and lectures by world-leading researchers and active clinicians, this module offers both an insight into these emerging technologies and a fundamental understanding of why size matters and how nanoscale technologies interact with biological environments.

We will visit the nanoscale quantum universe, and see how nanoscale objects can be tuned for disease targeting. Students will see how this small scale technology offers huge leaps in diagnostics and therapeutics, enabling us to break the boundary from macroscale anatomy to nanoscale biologics.

Please note there will be a £100 bench fee for the use of labs and consumable materials.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Understand why size matters in medical applications of nanotechnology; including the impact of the nanoscale on the laws of physics, and resulting effects on chemical and biological interactions
  • Understand how nanotechnology can be applied to clinical imaging modalities to increase sensitivity and specificity of: (i) magnetic resonance imaging, (ii) x-ray based imaging
  • Understand how nanotechnology can be applied in the delivery and targeted release of drugs; and in radiotherapy to enhance tumour cell kill and localise cancer treatment
  • Be able to describe how nanoscale sized topographies and particles can influence biological interactions (including cell behaviour) with reference to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine
  • Understand what nanotoxicity is, how it is measured and why it is an important consideration in nanomedicine

Module prerequisites

This is a level two module (equivalent to second year undergraduate). Students are required to have completed at least one year of undergraduate study (or research experience in a relevant field) at the time of joining the Summer School. Considering the interdisciplinary content, students are encouraged to apply from a broad range of degrees including but not limited to: biological science, biomedical science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, biophotonics, material science, medicine

Module hours

Classes take place on the Bloomsbury campus, Monday through to Friday, during the daytime. Off-campus site visits and supervised fieldwork may also take place during these hours. Assessment and a plenary event will take place on the last Friday. The module offers 45 contact hours, but students are expected to spend an additional 100 hours on assignments and self-study.<br>Part of the course will utilise the Centre of Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine research laboratories and teaching spaces at the Royal Free Hospital, where students will be exposed to this translational research environment and cross-disciplinary researchers (medics, engineers and biologists).


  • Students (in groups) will profile the research of a UCL academic exploring nanotechnology in medicine and present a poster based on this research question/theme (25%)
  • Online Single Best Answer quizzes and interaction with storylines (25%)
  • Unseen short answer written examination, 2 hours (50%)

Module leader

Kate Ricketts is a Senior Lecturer in Cancer Nanotechnology and Physics and module lead of the Nanotechnology element within the MSc in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine. Kate is also an honorary Clinical Radiotherapy Physicist at University College London Hospital with a focus on translating her imaging and radiotherapy research to the clinic.

Gavin Jell is a passionate teacher and an internationally renowned researcher in regenerative medicine and nanotechnology. He created and is the programme lead for the successful MSc in Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine. His research group are interested in how nanoparticle-protein interactions influence nanoparticle toxicity and targeting.

Application information


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