Zahra Rattray


  • 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) Nanomedicine cellular interactions

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Chancellor's Research Fellow and 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 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.
  • Evaluation of nanomedicine interaction with biological media, and the mechanism of cellular uptake in two- and three-dimensional cellular models.
  • 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.

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. Recently I became an elected member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland. I also serve as co-lead for the Academy of Pharmaceutical Science Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products.

I am passionate about equity in STEMM and actively seek opportunities to champion scientists from a diversity of backgrounds. 

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Pharmacy, University of Manchester

Sep 2004May 2008

Award Date: 8 Jul 2008

Doctor of Philosophy

Sep 2009May 2013


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


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