• United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

(1) Evaluating the nuclear import pathway as a druggable target for cancer therapy (Self-funded)
(2) Scalability of polymeric delivery system characteristics (Self-funded)
(3) Developing new analytical pipelines for profiling the nanoparticle corona proteome
(4) Understanding the drivers of rheumatic disease outcomes in patient populations

Personal profile

Expertise & Capabilities


I am an interdisciplinary pharmaceutical researcher with experience in developing injectable drugs (antibodies, small molecules, and nanomedicines). I have significant expertise in the analytical characterization of critical quality attributes for these products and the design of pre-clinical studies for evaluating biological performance (biopharmaceutics).

Equipment Capabilities

My laboratory hosts a Malvern Panalytical NanoSight NS300 and Archimedes Resonant Mass Measurement, which are both used to measure particle size and concentration. If you would be interested in accessing these technologies, please get in touch ([email protected]).


I am also Director for the new EPSRC Multiscale Metrology Suite (modular setup including Field Flow Fractionation, Inductively-coupled mass spectrometry, Light Scattering and Raman) for Next-Generation Health Nanotechnologies (EP/V028960/1). For more information or to access this facility, please get in touch.

Personal Statement

Senior Lecturer in Translational Pharmaceutics

I am a pharmacist by training with experience of working within the hospital, community and industry sectors. I have contributed to a diverse molecule portfolio spanning pre-clinical to late-stage development during my time at AstraZeneca and in collaboration with Patrys Ltd at the Yale School of Medicine (PAT-DX1).


My research team has two overall interests;

i) Analytical characterization of parenteral formulation attributes and in vivo performance:

A key challenge in the commercial translation of newly-discovered drugs is understanding the key performance indicating characteristics crucial to their biological performance and how they interact with living systems. We are interested in developing new tools to profile these performance characteristics.

Areas of research interest in my lab are summarized as follows;

  • Understanding the environmental and physicochemical determinants of solution-phase formulation stability for antibody and suspension formulations.
  • Determining key critical quality attributes in particle design to inform optimal in vivo performance.
  • Analytical evaluation of nanomedicine interaction with biological media, and the mechanism of cellular uptake in two- and three-dimensional cellular models. We use the latest in field flow fractionation and orthogonal analytical techniques to probe the interaction between nanomaterials and biofluids. Knowledge of particle parameters altering the biological performance of nanomedicines, can be used to reverse engineer novel biocompatible prototypes.
  • Applying novel imaging modalities for evaluating drug and nanoparticle biodistribution, and impact on tumor response.
  • The interplay between the tumour microenvironment and nanomedicine in vivo performance with a view to developing biorelevant in vitro tests.

ii) DNA repair agents and the nuclear import pathway, and their role in cancer:

We are interested in screening the functional and phenotypic role of DNA repair mutations. We also develop new small molecule drugs against various nuclear import transporters known to be elevated in cancer. In the fight against cancer, we want to contribute to the discovery of new lifesaving drug treatments.

Public Engagement & Outreach

When not in the lab, I am passionate about improving access to education, achievement and realizing potential for young budding scientists and am open to local STEM and healthcare-related widening participation initiatives. Without the next-generation of scientists and researchers, all the developments made in science to-date would be in vain.

I am co-director (Pharmacy) with Dr Margaret Cunningham (Biomedical Sciences) for outreach in the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences.

External Profile

Recently I became an elected member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland, where I am the lead for communications. I am the Chair of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Science Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products focus group which was launched in fall 2020. I am review editor for the Frontiers in Endocrinology Journal (2019-present) and a newly-appointed associate EPSRC peer review college member (2021-present).


I am passionate about equity in STEMM and actively seek opportunities to champion scientists from a diversity of backgrounds. If you want to join the Rattray Laboratory of Complex Bioanalysis as a visiting scholar, PhD researcher or fellow please do get in touch! 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University Of Strathclyde

Award Date: 1 Jul 2021

Master of Pharmacy, University of Manchester

Sept 2004May 2008

Award Date: 8 Jul 2008

Doctor of Philosophy, The application of image analysis extensions to processes of relevance to drug development

Sept 2009May 2013


  • Drug Delivery
  • Drug development
  • Protein aggregation
  • Nanoparticles
  • Cancer therapy
  • Antibody

My gallery


Dive into the research topics where Zahra Rattray is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or