UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science


Precision Nano Systems and Advanced Therapy

The Hirak Patra Lab brings together enthusiastic and disruptive innovators from cross-disciplinary backgrounds to explore nanoscale science, technologies, and materials for advanced healthcare applications.

Our work

The Patra Lab group combines and applies tools from chemistry, physics, biochemistry, and engineering to construct materials and to engineer their physical and chemical properties for biomedical applications. Our work addresses active needs in biomedical science and biotechnology.

We develop precise molecular strategies at the nanoscale that help us conceal drugs during transportation and develop tools to deliver them to the tertiary level (organelle). We are developing nano-toolboxes for disease-specific requirements that can develop with theranostic capacity (combining diagnosis and therapy). Our current research interests include:

Basic understanding

  • Biochemical environment of drug resistance.
  • Cell specific response to nanoparticles.
  • Understanding strategies for non-invasive monitoring of nanomaterials.
  • Addressing the physicochemical environment for tissue regeneration.

We aim to explore the biochemical and physicochemical basis of drug resistance and tissue regeneration, such as how a 3D environment influences a complex biomedical scenario such as tissue regeneration, drug resistence, metastasis, etc.


  • Synthesis and application of ultra-small Nano Systems.
  • Surface engineering nanomaterials for specific targeting, biosensing and therapy.
  • Biosynthesis of nanoparticle / exosome / ECV / microparticles.
  • Designing molecules and biopolymers for specific stimuli response.
  • Theranostic module (combined diagnostic and therapeutic component in a single platform).

We aim to develop systematic syntheses of ultra-small metallic NanoSystems, biosynthesis of nanoparticles (exosome, ECV, etc.), stimuli response materials, and theranostic modules (combined diagnostic and therapeutic components in one platform). These are haematologically safe for use in nanomedicines and regenerative medicines.


  • Nano-diagnostics and biodevices.
  • Medicated artificial implants to combat with rejection.
  • Nano Systems for vaccines and immunomodulation.
  • Personalised Nano Systems and Precision Drug Delivery systems.

Our translational research interests are in diagnostics and therapeutics. We are focusing on nano-diagnostic systems, rejection-combating medicated implants, nanovaccines, enhanced nano-immunomodulator, and personalised delivery systems (exosome, ECV, and microparticle).

Our facilities

  • Ultra-small nanoparticle synthesis system
  • Nanoparticle Tracking - ZetaView® Twin
  • High resolution digital optical microscope (20x-7000x magnification range)
  • Primary cell culture
  • Laser cutting
  • Rheometer and mechanical (tensile) testing

Patra Lab members

We are a group of enthusiastic researchers from diverse cross-disciplinary background united together to enjoy the fun in understanding nanoscience and exploring through dedicated scientific research.

Dr Hirak Patra

Dr Hirak Patra (Group Lead)
Assoc. Professor of Nanomedicine & Regenerative Medicine

Dr Alexandru Chivu

Dr Alexandru Chivu

Roundel icon of a silhouette in grey

Dr Elena Zattera

Mr Alexander B.C. Gray

Mr Thomas Lester

Mr Minwei Liu

Funding / Partnerships

Select publications

  1. Azharuddin, M., Zhu, G.H., Sengupta, A., Hinkula, J., Slater, N.K.H., Patra, H.K. (2022). Nano toolbox in immune modulation and nanovaccines. Trends in Biotechnology.
  2. Islam, M.M., Chivu, A., AbuSamra, D.B., Saha, A., Patra, H.K. et al. (2022). Crosslinker-free collagen gelation for corneal regeneration. Scientific Reports, 12 (1), 9108.
  3. Zhu, G.H., Azharuddin, M., Islam, R., Rahmoune, H., Patra, H.K., et al. (2021). Innate Immune Invisible Ultrasmall Gold Nanoparticles-Framework for Synthesis and Evaluation. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
  4. Chivu, A., Chindera, K., Mendes, G., An, A., Davidson, B., Good, L., Song, W. (2021). Cellular gene delivery via poly(hexamethylene biguanide)/pDNA self-assembled nanoparticles. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics.
  5. Sharifi, S., Islam, M.M., Sharifi, H., Islam, R., Huq, T.N., Patra, H.K., et al. (2021). Electron Beam Sterilization of Poly(Methyl Methacrylate) - Physicochemical and Biological Aspects. Macromolecular Bioscience, 21 (4), 2000379.
  1. Mahin, J., Franck, C.O., Fanslau, L., Patra, H.K., Mantle, M.D., Fruk, L., Torrente-Murciano, L. (2021). Green, scalable, low cost and reproducible flow synthesis of biocompatible PEG-functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles. React. Chem. Eng., 6, 1961-1973.
  2. Patra, H.K., Azharuddin, M., Islam, M.M., Papapavlou, G., Deb, S., et al. (2019). Rational Nanotoolbox with Theranostic Potential for Medicated Pro-Regenerative Corneal Implants. Advanced Functional Materials, 29 (38), ARTN 1903760.
  3. Li, L., Xiao, B., Mu, J., Zhang, Y., Zhang, C., Cao, H., Patra, H.K., et al. (2019). A MnO2 Nanoparticle-Dotted Hydrogel Promotes Spinal Cord Repair via Regulating Reactive Oxygen Species Microenvironment and Synergizing with Mesenchymal Stem Cells. ACS NANO, 13 (12), 14283-14293.
  4. Patra, H. K. (2018). Sensible label-free bio-sensing: Towards in situ biopsy. 2018 IEEE SENSORS, 1721-1724.

Full list available at UCL IRIS

Related courses

Join us

Our inclusive-practice lab is always looking for enthusiastic and passionate researchers. If you are interested in joining us, please get in touch: hirak.patra@ucl.ac.uk.

PhD studentships

If you are interested in pursuing your doctoral degree with us, you can consider the following schemes. Many students are funded through Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT).



Postdoctoral fellowships

If you are interested in joining us and eligible to apply for a fellowship, please contact us with your plan and how it fits with our research aims. We get a lot of interest and can only host small numbers at our lab and via our collaborators.

Hirak Patra and members of the research group at a London park

Hirak Patra and members of the research group around a table at a restaurant

Promotional banner for the Patra Lab. Selfie of students with motivational quote: "Can't be happier as a leader to see the happy faces working with you."