Collaborators and Project Partners

Eileen Kennedy

Dr Eileen J. Kennedy received her B.S. degree from the University of Washington where she majored in Biochemistry then her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego where she was an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellow. She subsequently performed her postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Gregory Verdine in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow.  Dr. Kennedy started her independent in 2010 and is currently the Dr. Samuel C. Benedict Professor and Assistant Department Head in the Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Georgia.  She uses synthetic chemistry and kinase enzymology to study allosteric and spatiotemporal regulation of kinases with a long-term goal to develop synthetic biologics that can be used to probe kinase-mediated cell signaling events. 

Roman Tuma

Dr Roman Tuma is Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic where he leads a multidisciplinary center focused on structure and dynamics of large macromolecular complexes and replication of RNA viruses. He completed his PhD in cell biology and biophysics at the University of Missouri in 1996. After a postdoctoral stay at the University of Alabama, he obtained funding from the Academy of Finland to establish his own group at the University of Helsinki. He joined the Faculty of Biological Sciences and the Astbury Centre in Leeds in 2007 as a Reader in Biophysics. At Leeds, he pioneered the use of single molecule fluorescence to study the assembly of RNA viruses and to follow dynamics of membrane proteins. He remains a visiting fellow at the University of Leeds, collaborating on several BBSRC funded projects. 

Charlotte Dodson

Dr Charlotte Dodson is a biophysicist and Lecturer in Drug Discovery at the University of Bath. Her group uses single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and other techniques to measure changes in the conformation of protein drug targets with the ultimate aim of improving drug discovery. Charlotte is a Chartered Chemist (CChem) and holds a BA (Hons)/MA and PhD from the University of Cambridge. Her career has taken her across the biological and physical sciences and she has worked in biophysics, structural biology, chemistry and medical departments at four of the UK’s top academic institutions. In 2013 she launched her independent research group as a Research Fellow at Imperial College London. She is a member of the Biochemical Society (Policy Committee 2014-2019) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (Chemistry Biology Interface Council 2022-2025). Prior to 2003, she worked in the Arts as a professional diary and contract manager.

Elisabetta Chiarparin on behalf of AstraZeneca

Dr Elisabetta Chiarparin is currently Section Head of Oncology Chemistry UK and head of Oncology PROTAC platform. Elisabetta has almost 20 years drug discovery experience in the CNS and Oncology therapeutic areas, gained at GlaxoSmithKline, Astex Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca. She has led structural, computational and medicinal chemistry teams and contributed to the development of several preclinical and clinical candidates. She is passionate about drugging the ‘difficult to drug targets’ and of Structure Based Drug Design. Elisabetta is co-author of over 50 publications, patents, posters, and oral presentations. Elisabetta was nominated lecturer for 2020/2021 by the of Royal Society of Chemistry Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector (BMCS) lectureship. Elisabetta holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Andy Merritt on behalf of LifeArc

Dr Andy Merritt has held the post of Head of Chemistry at the LifeArc (formerly MRC Technology) Centre for Therapeutics Discovery (CTD) since the summer of 2009. In close collaboration with academic scientists, the CTD develops and subsequently prosecutes innovative drug discovery programmes emerging from academic research, in oncology, neuroscience and diseases of the developing world. Prior to his current position, Andy was a Director of Discovery Medicinal Chemistry at GlaxoSmithKline. Andy joined the former Glaxo organization as a senior medicinal chemist in 1988 following postdoctoral studies in the US. Andy sat on the RSC Chemistry World editorial board between 2003 and 2019, has been a regular undergraduate lecturer in pharmaceutical medicine at Imperial College, Warwick and Sussex universities, and was the industrial organiser for the RSC Medicinal Chemistry residential summer school between 1999 and 2005.