Professor Ian Gilbert


Professor/Head of the Drug Discovery Unit

Drug Discovery Unit, School of Life Sciences

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, School of Life Sciences

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+44 (0)1382 386240


Medicinal Chemistry

I am a medicinal chemist and my research interests are in the design and synthesis of potential drugs. The mainstay of my work is synthetic medicinal chemistry as part of the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU). Where possible we make extensive use of molecular modeling to guide our synthetic efforts. I have a particular interests in the following aspects of drug discovery:

Neglected diseases such as human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and malaria.

Chemical validation of drug targets, including novel targets for which there is little or no precedence for drug discovery.

Novel approaches to and paradigms for drug discovery.

Mode of action studies and target identification.

I am Head of Chemistry in the DDU. Our main focuses are on neglected diseases and novel drug targets. The neglected diseases we are tackling are malaria, tuberculosis and the kinetoplastid diseases. We use both target-based approaches and phenotypic approaches (whole parasite screening). We have had particular success in validating the enzyme N-myristoyltransferase as a drug target in human African trypanosomiasis, and in identifying and optimising phenotypic hits. In our novel targets area, we aim to validate novel areas of biology as potential drug targets.

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Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Design and synthesis of potential therapeutic agents

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Areas of expertise

  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Infectious diseases
  • Medicines


Award Year
Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences 2021
Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 2020