Dr Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer BSC (Hons), BEng (Hons), MSc (Hons), PhD

Dr Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer

School of Chemical Engineering
Reader in Micro-Engineering and Bio-Nanotechnology
Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow

Contact details

School of Chemical Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Pola G. Oppenheimer is Reader in Micro-Engineering and Bio-Nanotechnology, and a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at the School of Chemical Engineering and the Healthcare Technologies Institute (HTI).

Dr Oppenheimer’s research interests lie in nano and submicron structure formation (please see the group website: Advanced Nano-Materials, Structures and Applications) at surfaces and in thin films, including pioneering the potential use of hierarchical electrohydrodynamically generated functional structures to develop novel polymer-based nano-detection devices. She brings detailed expertise in creating and aligning a wide range of nanostructures in polymers, carbon nanotube-based nanocomposites, crystalline materials and a synergistic interest in biomimetics, including the use of polymers with 10-nm morphologies as templates to create inorganic functional devices.

She received her PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge in 2012,  during which time she received the Springer Doctoral Award, Switzerland, in recognition of scientific excellence of young researchers through an outstanding PhD thesis. On leaving Cambridge in August 2013, she was awarded a University of Birmingham Fellowship at the School of Chemical Engineering. In 2016, she was awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship as well as major funding from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratories to support her pioneering research.  Demonstrating her international recognition in the field, since 2013, she has given 13 invited seminars on her work in the UK, 10 invited talks at leading academic institutions conferences and companies across EU and internationally including, at UCL and Imperial College, University of Cambridge, Weizmann Institute, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, MRS, USA, Nice, France and has been invited to act as an external PhD examiner at the Universities of Southampton and Chalmers.

During her career Dr Oppenheimer has also been the recipient of several prestigious awards and markers of esteem and recognition. For instance, in 2017 she was invited to attend the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee, UK Parliament, London representing Early Career Researchers and the Royal Academy of Engineering on an enquiry into ‘Voice of the Future’, including an in-depth session by Government Ministers of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.  She has won a number of other awards including, The Royal Academy of Engineering Award (2016), Female Faces of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK (2014) and Award in Leadership and Management, University of Cambridge, UK (2012), awarded by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge as a recognition of excellent leadership and management skills. In 2018, she was featured in the University's Healthcare Technologies Birmingham Heroes campaign.


  • Leadership and Management Award, University of Cambridge & ILM, 2013
  • PhD in Physics, University of Cambridge (Springer Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis), Churchill College, Cambridge, UK (Supervisor: Prof. Ullrich Steiner), 2008-2012
  • M.Sc. in Biotechnology Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, Israel (CUM LAUDE), 2006 - 2008
  • BSc. in Chemistry (CUM-LAUDE) and BSc. in Chemical Engineering (SUMMA CUM-LAUDE), 2002 - 2006


BSc in Chemistry (Cum-Laude), BEng in Chemical Engineering (Summa Cum Laude), MSc in Chemical Engineering (Cum Laude), PhD in Physics, AMRSC, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow.

Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer holds an academic position at the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. Her high-impact and trend-setting research focuses on nanostructured surfaces developing sophisticated technologies to realise advanced micro-engineered diagnostic devices. Dr P. Goldberg Oppenheimer holds two B.SC degrees with one in Chemical Engineering (B.Sc., Summa Cum Laude) and one in Chemistry (B.Sc., Cum Laude). Her M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering on composite materials and devices spawned several publications and led to an extensive expertise in suitable characterization and imaging methods including, TEM, cryo-TEM and SEM.

Dr G. Oppenheimer was then awarded a European Research Kodak scholarship to perform her PhD studies at the Cavendish Laboratories at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. U. Steiner, where she acquired a broad expertise in soft materials particularly, in polymer physics and advanced patterning methods. Her PhD in Physics was awarded the Springer Doctoral Award and was selected to be published in the series of ‘Outstanding Theses’. In recognition of the excellence of Dr Oppenheimer’s research, she has also been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Carl-Zeiss Award in Engineering at the University of Cambridge (UoC), resulting in extensive media exposure with another accolade for her work was its selection to illustrate the front covers of the Science Magazine and the 2012 Annual Report of the UoC. In 2016, Dr G. Oppenheimer was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship (as one out of only seven) outstanding, high-quality engineers across the UK developing successful academic research career as a testament to the strong recognised achievements in the field of nano-engineering on a trajectory of becoming exceptional well-recognised international leader.


  • 2015 - Current: Module Coordinator and Lecturer on Biochemical Engineering Processes, Year 1 Undergraduates (ca. 190), School of Chemical Engineering, UoB, UK
  • 2013 - Current: Lecturer on Engineering and Physical Science for Sci-Phy-4-Health, UoB
  • 2014 – Current: Research Projects, MSc Chemical Engineering, UoB
  • 2013 - Current: Mini Projects Supervisor, Doctoral EPSRC Training Centre, UoB
  • 2014 – Current: Tutor for Chemical Engineering Undergraduate (Year 1-4) Students, UoB
  • 2013 – Current: Supervisor of MEng Chemical Engineering Students, UoB
  • 2009 - 2012: Demonstrator for Physics Lab, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge
  • 2009 – 2010: Invigilator, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2008 – 2009: Lab Demonstrator for Physics Undergraduate Students, University of Cambridge


Recent publications


Rickard, J, Di Pietro, V, Smith, D, Davies, D, Belli, T & Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2020, 'Rapid optofluidic detection of biomarkers for traumatic brain injury via surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy', Nature Biomedical Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41551-019-0510-4

Banbury, C, Mason, R, Styles, I, Eisenstein, N, Clancy, M, Belli, A, Logan, A & Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2019, 'Development of the Self Optimising Kohonen Index Network (SKiNET) for Raman Spectroscopy Based Detection of Anatomical Eye Tissue', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 10812. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-47205-5

Banbury, C, Rickard, JJS, Mahajan, S & Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2019, 'Tuneable metamaterial-like platforms for surface-enhanced Raman scattering via three-dimensional block co-polymer-based nanoarchitectures', ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, vol. 11, no. 15, pp. 14437-14444. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.9b00420

Gkotsis, G, Rickard, JJS, Brooker, A, Bakalis, S, Grover, LM & Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2018, 'Fabrication of optimized skin biomimics for improved interfacial retention of cosmetic emulsions', Journal of The Royal Society Interface, vol. 15, no. 143, 20180332. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2018.0332

Mccarthy, EM, Floyd, H, Addison, O, Zhang, ZJ, Oppenheimer, PG & Grover, LM 2018, 'Influence of cobalt ions on collagen gel formation and their interaction with osteoblasts', Omega, vol. 3, no. 8, pp. 10129-10138. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.8b01048

Busa, C, Rickard, J & Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2017, 'Tunable superapolar lotus-to-rose hierarchical nanosurfaces via vertical carbon nanotubes driven electrohydrodynamic lithography', Nanoscale, vol. 9, pp. 1625-1636. https://doi.org/10.1039/C6NR08706J

Goldberg Oppenheimer, P, Jelinek, R & Yin, X 2016, 'Conductive and SERS-active colloidal gold films spontaneously formed at a liquid/liquid interface', RSC Advances, no. 6, pp. 33326-33331. https://doi.org/10.1039/C6RA03403A

Hussein, Z, Rawson, FJ, Goldberg Oppenheimer, P, Acton, A & Mendes, PM 2016, 'Length-Selective Chemical Assembly of Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes', Advanced Materials Interfaces, vol. 3, no. 11. https://doi.org/10.1002/admi.201500860

Chouhan, G, Shelton, R, Bowen, J, Goldberg Oppenheimer, P, Page, J, Hanna, JV, Peacock, A, Wright, A & Grover, L 2016, 'Soluble silicon patterns and templates: calcium phosphate nanocrystal deposition in collagen type 1', RSC Advances, vol. 6, no. 102, pp. 99809-99815. https://doi.org/10.1039/c6ra19784a

Rickard, JJS, Farrer, I & Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2016, 'Tunable Nanopatterning of Conductive Polymers via Electrohydrodynamic Lithography', ACS Nano, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 3865-3870. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.6b01246

Goldberg Oppenheimer, P, Robertson, J & Hofmann, S 2015, 'Influence of Packing Density and Surface Roughness of Vertically-Aligned Carbon Nanotubes on Adhesive Properties of Gecko-Inspired Mimetics', ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Rong, Z, Zhou, Y, Chen, B, Robertson, J, Federle, W, Hofmann, S, Steiner, U & Goldberg-oppenheimer, P 2014, 'Bio-inspired hierarchical polymer fiber-carbon nanotube adhesives', Advanced Materials, vol. 26, no. 9, pp. 1456-1461. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.v26.9

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2015, Instability-Based Methods for Patterning Polymer Surfaces. in Springer USA.


Goldberg Oppenheimer, P, Rickard, J & Belli, A, Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering Apparatus and Method, Patent No. 1701182.6.

Web publication/site

Goldberg Oppenheimer, P & Rickard, J, Advanced Lithographic Micro Surfaces for Biodiagnostics, 2017, Web publication/site, NANOSMAT. <http://www.nano-world.co.uk/advanced-lithographic-micro-surfaces-for-biodiagnostics/>

View all publications in research portal