Satpal received a 1st class honours degree in Computer-aided chemistry from the University of Surrey in 2000. He then undertook a Ph.D. project working with Gabriel Waksman FRS at Birkbeck College London in 2004. His work involved the study of SH2 domains using techniques such as X-ray crystallography and biophysical analysis. He also collaborated with Derek Macmillan and developed expertise in the area of chemical protein synthesis. He then joined Jason Chin's laboratory at the LMB where he pioneered the genetically-directed synthesis of atypical ubiquitin chains and ubiquitin conjugates. Working closely with David Komander at the LMB, he went on to solve the crystal structure of the Lys6 linked ubiquitin chain and identified a deubiquitinase which is specific for atypical linkages.
Satpal set up his group at the MRC PPU in 2011 and became a tenured Programme Leader in 2016.