Clarke was born in Pontypridd, South Wales, and was educated at Howell's School, Llandaff, from 1930 to 1937, before studying the Natural Sciences Tripos at Girton College, Cambridge, from 1937 to 1940.
After graduating she took a post at the Armament Research Department of the Ministry of Supply in Swansea to work on explosives. She returned to biochemistry in 1944 when she joined the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratories at Beckenham, Kent. In 1951, she moved to work part-time at the National Collection of Type Cultures of bacteria in the Central Public Health Laboratory at Colindale, London.
Her final move was to the Department of Biochemistry at University College, London, as Assistant Lecturer, being appointed Lecturer in 1956, Reader in 1966 and Professor of Microbial Biochemistry in 1974. Her major field of research was bacterial enzymes production and metabolism.
In 1940, she married Michael Clarke; they had two children in 1947 and 1949.
- "Clarke, Patricia Hannah, b. 1919. Biochemist". National Archives. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
- British Universities Film & Video Council (10 May 1994). "Clarke. Life of a Microbial Biochemist: Professor Patricia H. Clarke FRS in Conversation with Professor J. Gareth Morris FRS". Edinburgh: EDINA. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
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