Dr Paolo Actis

Dr Paolo Actis


I am an Assocate Professor in Bionanotechnology and I strive to empower the next generation of scientists and engineers.

My research involves the development of nanoprobes for single-cell analysis and manipulation with single molecule resolution. I am working with biologists and physicians to understand the deepest difference between healthy cells and diseased cells. After graduating in 2008 with a PhD from the Grenoble Institute of Technology (FR), I spent 4 years in California working on my tan at NASA Ames (US) and UC Santa Cruz (US) before crossing the pond again to lose my tan at Imperial College London (UK). I then spent two years at Bio Nano Consulting as a Consultant & Project Manager.

I love gardening and cooking (I make the best Lasagna this side of the Channel) and I used to play beach volleyball, surf and practice Krav Maga (with very mediocre results). I am massive Juventus fan !


  • Deputy Director for Student Education

Research interests

Our beauty is in our differences. This is true down to the level of individual molecules that make up our body. I am working with biologists and physicians to understand the deepest difference between healthy cells and diseased cells. 

My research plan aims to develop a new platform for single-cell analysis and manipulation to study the dynamic function of individual cells in heterogeneous populations with single molecule resolution.

Single-cell Nanosurgery. I am developing an electrical nanobiopsy platform capable of extracting genetic material and organelles from single cells in culture. I apply this technology to understand why a brain cancer called GBM is so deadly and what we can do to stop it! 

Single molecule Biosensing.  I am developing functionalized DNA origami constructs to capture disease biomarkers within biological fluids. I then analyse them one at the time using nanopore sensors aiming to detect the tiniest amount of disease biomarkers so that a diagnosis can be done as quickly as possible.

Single-molecule Nanoinjection.  I am developing a platform that can inject biomolecules one at the time into living cells in culture. I am hoping this technology will help us understand the mechanism of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease. 

I am collaborating with poets, dancers, musicians, designers and even chefs because knowledge has no boundaries.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I am the module leader for ELEC5650 "Medical Electronics and e-Health" 

Research groups and institutes

  • Pollard Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>