Mangala started her career in research at the National University of Singapore, before completing her Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University (USA). Her work focuses on contrast agents for in vivo imaging. Mangala's early work helped established the field of 19F MRI for quantitative in vivo cell tracking, including the first paper on the topic. More recently, her group works on customisable nanoparticles for imaging and advanced personalised medicine applications. Some of these nanoparticles will be tested in a clinical cell tracking study using multimodal imaging, in melanoma patients. Her group works with fluorescence, MRI, PET, SPECT, ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging in various disease models. A spin-off to bring the nanoparticles to the patient on a larger scale is being set-up. This multidisciplinary work is supported by prestigious grants such as an NWO Veni and an ERC Starting Grant, among others. Mangala is also active within the Young Academy of Europe, and is currently elected to the board as Vice Chair. She is also an Associate Editor for the journal European Reviews.