Paula M Mendes received her MSc (1997) and PhD (2002) degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Portugal. In 1997, she was awarded a competitive University Fellowship to carry out research in computational chemical engineering at the National Polytechnic Institute of Lorraine (INPL), Nancy, France.
After working for a year in the Lameirinho Textile Industry, Guimarães, Portugal as an Engineer-Assistant, she joined the Laboratory of Process, Environment and Energy Engineering at University of Porto to pursue a doctorate under the supervision of Professor Carlos Costa and Professor Naceur Belgacem.
While a postgraduate student, she received a competitive University Research Fellowship to perform part of her PhD studies in the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), UK. She undertook post-doctoral research firstly (2002-04) in the Research group of Professor Jon Preece, School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham, UK, and subsequently (2004-06) at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA in the research group of Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart.
In October 2006, she became a University Academic Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, UK. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2011 and Professor in 2013. She is a Chartered Scientist, Corporate Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and editor of Journal of Experimental Nanoscience. She acts as a referee for the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA), EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust, Wellcome Trust and Royal Society.