Paula M Mendes is a Professor of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology in the School of Chemical Engineering. She 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.
She undertook post-doctoral research firstly (2002–04) in the 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 with 2016 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart FRS. She began her academic career in the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham in 2006, as an academic fellow. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2011 and Professor of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology in 2013. She was a Visiting Professor at University of Washington, Department of Bioengineering, USA between September 2015 and July 2018.
Mendes serves as an Editor for the Journal of Experimental Nanoscience (Taylor & Francis), Associate Editor for the journal Responsive Materials (Wiley) and Member of the Editorial Board of ChemBioEng Reviews (Wiley) and Editorial Board of Colloid and Interface Science Communications (Elsevier). She is a leadership group member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers Research and Innovation Community of Practice.
She pioneered the use of electrically switchable oligopeptides to control biological interactions and the development of many molecular-based biosensors to deliver breakthroughs in fields ranging from cell therapy bioprocessing to cancer diagnosis. She is the author of over 100 manuscripts, 4 patents and recipient of highly prestigious research programmes, including an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Fellowship (2013-2018) and European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant (2014-2021). Her efforts have been recognized by numerous awards, including 2016 Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Award, 2017 General Electric (GE) Healthcare Life Sciences Prize, 2019 Women in Tech Academic Award and 2021 Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Sharma medal.