Dr Priyanka Dey

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Highest Academic Qualifications

  • Masters in material engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India
  • PhD (in Chemistry specializing in nanotechnology and optical spectroscopy) from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia

Current Employment: BioSpec group of Biophysics, University of Exeter, UK

Websites (external links)

Areas of Expertise

  • Engineering plasmonic nanostructures for use as optical sensors. Especially, nanoplasmonic enhanced optical spectroscopy including Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance LSPR, Raman SERS, Chiral Dichroism CD and lens-free interferometric microscopy.
  • Point-of-care (POC) lab-on-chip diagnostics with biofluids (blood, plasma, urine etc.)
  • Deep tissue cancer diagnostics via Raman (SESORS) detection.
  • Hybrid nanoparticles.

Honours and Awards

  • 2018: EU Seal of Excellence Award (MC IF 2017).
  • 2015: Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award 2014 – Queensland University of Technology (QUT, Brisbane, Australia).
  • 2013: HDR student of the month award (January 2013) – Queensland University of Technology (QUT, Brisbane, Australia).

Other Significant activities

  • 2018 onwards: Vice-Chair of the technical group of “Optical Biosensors” of The Optical Society (OSA).
  • 2012 and 2014: Organizing committee member of conference- Royal Australasian Chemical Institute (RACI) Student Polymer Symposium, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  • 2015 onwards: Reviewer of J. Phys. Chem C and Analyst.


I have built my research experience both in plasmonic sensors and water treatment technologies in an urge to be able to deliver nanomaterial based real life solutions to the world. Applications of the researched technologies have been demonstarted in; but is not limited to; chemo/bio sensors, cancer diagnostic agents, and water treatment technologies for obtaining drinkable water from sea water.

Real-life Applications involving:

  • Point-of-Care POC diagnosticsfor detection of biomarkers in biofluids (blood, plasma, urine, saliva etc).
  • Detection from within deep tissue for in vivocancer diagnostic modality like SESORS Raman-based technique.
  • Water treatment

Some of the nanomaterials I have been exploring include:

  • Polymersespecially stimuli-responsive and structurally branched ones ,
  • Plasmonic metal nanoparticlesespecially Au/Ag shaped nanostructures and their morphological nano-assemblies, and
  • Hybird nanoparticles including polymer hybrids with iron oxide and silica nanoparticles.

Interestingly, I have been involved in their synthesis, characterization, surface-functionalization, and thus the ability to tune their physical and functional properties to employ them in various applications from switchable surfaces to water treatment forward osmosis FO draw agents and most importantly in diagnostics. Engineering I have spent the last couple of years focusing on nanoplasmonic diagnostic imaging agents and devices especially with Localized surface plasmon resonance LSPR, surface enhanced Raman scattering SERS and more recently with lens free imaging techniques.

The projects I have been involved in include:

  • 2018- present: Working with Prof. Nick Stone at University of Exeter, UK. EPSRC Programme grants EP/R020965/1: Raman Nanotheranostics – RaNT: Developing gold-based targeted diagnostics specifically with deep tissue Raman SESORS set-up. (Participants (7): University of Exeter; University College London; University of Cambridge; STFC laboratories, Cancer Research and industry partners including BBI solutions, Nanometrics. UK collaborative funded project.)
  • 2017-2018: Worked with Prof. Laura Lechuga at ICN2, Barcelona, Spain. Horizon H2020-ICT-2014-1 Project RAIS: Scalable, point-of-care and label free microarray platform for rapid detection of Sepsis. Involved in developing label-free detection of E. coli from patient blood plasma in just 30 minutes, estabilishing it as a bed-side POC diagnostics. (Participants (9): ICFO, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and ICN2 Spain, EPFL Switzerland, iXscient UK, Toskana Biomarkers Italy, BRAHMS and microTEK Germany, TRN Belgium. EU collaborative funded project.)
  • 2015-2016: Worked with Dr. Jessica Rodriguez-Fernandez and Prof. Jochen Feldman at LMU, Munich, Germany. EU FP7 Project UNION: Ultra-versatile Nanoparticle Integration into Organized Nanoclusters. Designed plasmonic nanostructures with specific optical responses including directional assembling potential of Gold nanorods, assemblies directed via manipulating DNA, chiral responses, as well as, switchable plasmonic/SERS behaviour with semi-conductor-plasmonic NP interactions. (Participants (8): LMU Germany, DCU Ireland, IREC Spain, MFA Hungary, Nanovector Italy, Cidette, Thals and Malvern. EU collaborative funded project.)
  • 2014-2014: Worked with Dr. Emad Kirikaous at QUT, Brisbane, Australia. Australian Advance Queensland award: Water treatment technologies. Developed iron oxide-polymer hybrids as smart osmotic draw agents for water treatment in forward osmosis FO set-up. (Participant (1): QUT, Australia).
  • 2011-2014: PhD (Chemistry and Nanomaterials): Worked with A/Prof. Peter Fredericks and A/Prof. Idriss Blakey at QUT Brisbane and UQ St. Lucia, Australia. Australian Research Council Discovery Project ARC DP1094205: Multimodal Biomedical Imaging probes. Designed NP hybrids (RAFT polymer-gold nano-assemblies) based Raman imaging agents to be employed for deep tissue SESORS detection. (Participants(3): UQ and QUT Australia, University Of Nottingham, UK).