Rachel McKendry

User Profile


Prof Rachel McKendry

Telephone Number: 
+44 (0)20 7679 9995
Telephone Extension: 
39 995
Fax Number: 
+44 (0)20 7678 0595
Research Interests: 
Diagnosis, treatment and tracking of infectious diseases – integrating advances in nanotechnology, telecommunications and big data.
Superbugs and superdrugs: unravelling the nanomechanics of antibiotic resistance (Nature Nanotechnology 2008, 2013 and 2014)
Mobile phone-connected diagnostics for HIV (NIHR i4i programme with OJ-Bio and UCL Partners)
EPSRC IRC in Early Warning Sensing Systems to track serious infections including influenza, antimicrobial resistance and HIV by linking self-reported symptoms on social media and search engines with mobile phone connected disease diagnostic tests (i-sense

Professor Rachel McKendry

  • Director of i-sense, the EPSRC IRC in Early Warning Sensing Systems for Infectious Diseases.
  • Director of Biomedical and Life Sciences at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (UCL & Imperial).
  • Interventions Theme Lead for the Bloomsbury Research Institute (UCL & LSHTM)

Rachel McKendry is Professor of Biomedical Nanotechnology at UCL with a joint position at the London Centre for Nanotechnology and Division of Medicine. She is Director of i-Sense, a national £11M EPSRC Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in Early Warning Sensing Systems for Infectious Diseases as well as Director of Biomedicine and Life Sciences at the London Centre for Nanotechnology and 'Interventions' theme lead for the Bloomsbury Research Institute (UCL & LSHTM).

Her research lies at the cutting edge of infectious diseases, nanotechnology, telecommunications and big data. Recent research highlights span from unravelling the molecular workings of antibiotics against MRSA (Nature Nanotechnology 2008, 2013 and 2014), to creating mobile phone-connected tests for HIV (NIHR i4i programme) and the new EPSRC IRC in early warning sensing system for infectious diseases, by linking self-reported symptoms on social media and search engines with mobile phone-connected disease diagnostic tests  (i-sense).

She has a First Class Honours Degree in Chemistry from Durham University, a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge University (Jesus College) and was a postdoctoral researcher at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory. Her contribution to the field is evident from 6 Nature-group papers, research funding in excess of £20M from the EPSRC, NIHR, Royal Society, BBSRC, the Human Frontier Science Programme and industry. Rachel has also won prestigious fellowships and awards including a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award (2014), Institute of Physics Paterson Medal (2009), Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship (2002-6), Girton College Cambridge Research Fellowship (1998-2001) and was invited to a Young Achievers celebration by H.R.H the Queen at Buckingham Palace (1998).

Rachel is also on the Steering Committee of the UK Infectious Diseases Research Network, Reviews Editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society A and the Editorial Board of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Analyst. She has served on the UK Government Blackett Review Panel on Biological Detection chaired by Sir John Beddington OBE FRS.

She has a passion for public engagement – highlights include interviews with the BBC, The Independent and i, New Scientist, Nature Nanotechnology, Nanomagazine, Deutsche Welle and ABC, you-tube video for World AIDS Day and EPSRC public dialogue on nanotechnology. Rachel has also presented her research to MPs at the Houses of Parliament and given numerous talks at schools.

Finally Rachel rowed for Cambridge Blondie in the Women's Oxbridge Boat Race. She is the Mother of two young children and has worked part-time for much of her research career.

External positions held: 

• Steering Group of the UK Infectious Diseases Research Network.
• Editorial Board of Royal Society of Chemistry Journal Analyst.
• London Technology Network Emerging Medical Technologies Advisory Board.
• Industrial consulting with UCL Business, London Technology Network and Bio Nano Consulting.
• London Technology Network Business Fellow – training at London Business School.
• Organised conferences and networking events with the British Council and the Swiss Embassy.
• Women's Engineering Society (WES) Role Model - Inspiring Women in Engineering - www.wes.org.uk/content/rachel-mckendry

Memberships : 

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, General Society for Microbiology & Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences.


London Centre for Nanotechnology BioNano Graduate Tutor.


Public Engagement work: interviews for BBC Radio 4 Today Programme and Naked Scientist and feature articles in New Scientist, Nanotechnology Magazine and EPSRC public engagement work.

Women's Engineering Society (WES) Role Model - Inspiring Women in Engineering - www.wes.org.uk/content/rachel-mckendry