Press release

Biochemical Society award for Dundee scientist

Published on 4 April 2024

The Biochemical Society have given their annual Industry and Academic Collaboration Award to Professor Gopal Sapkota, of the University of Dundee

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The Industry and Academic Collaboration Award is presented annually to an outstanding individual or team, from anywhere in the world, who has made an inspirational contribution to the biosciences and to industry–academia interactions.

Professor Sapkota is based in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU) within the School of Life Sciences at Dundee. 

Professor Sapkota said, “I am delighted to have received this prestigious award. It is a recognition of the many productive collaborations that I have had, and continue to be part of, with some of the leading pharmaceutical partners.”

“It is also a recognition of the hard work of all the students and postdocs in my lab over the years. I am hopeful this award will promote many more fruitful drug discovery collaborations with industry and allow our trainees an excellent opportunity to work alongside top pharmaceutical industries in a unique collaborative environment.”  

Born and raised in a remote part of Nepal, after completing his formative education Gopal won a British Council Scholarship to study biochemistry at the University of Bath. 

He undertook his PhD research at University of Dundee in Professor Dario Alessi’s laboratory, supported by a Diabetes UK PhD studentship. He then pursued postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York with Joan Massagué and was awarded the prestigious Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship to investigate the regulation of TGFβ signalling pathway. 

In November 2008, he joined the MRC PPU at the University of Dundee as a Programme Leader. In 2020, he was appointed Professor of Disease Signalling. 

His research focusses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms underpinning reversible phosphorylation and ubiquitylation processes in cell signalling and disease and harnessing this knowledge for innovative drug discovery approaches. He has been an integral part of the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT), a long-running flagship collaboration between Dundee researchers and leading commercial pharmaceutical companies. Gopal has ongoing collaborative drug discovery projects with GSK, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Amgen Inc.

Professor Dario Alessi, Director of the MRC PPU, said, “This prestigious award is great recognition for the tremendous work Gopal has undertaken to understand disease-relevant signalling pathways and develop unique technologies to help researchers better interrogate biological systems. He has also devoted so much time and energy to foster long-term productive collaborations with pharmaceutical companies to help accelerate drug discovery and translate his research as well as to provide his trainees with exceptional experience of working with industry.”

Gopal is one of fifteen eminent bioscientists, outstanding educators, and exceptional early career researchers acknowledged in the annual Biochemical Society Awards

Winners of the 2025 Awards represent a cross-section of the molecular biosciences, ranging from redox biology and plant-microbe interactions to mechanochemistry and virology.

Professor Steve Busby, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Birmingham, and Chair of the Biochemical Society’s Awards Committee, said, "The list of the 2025 Biochemical Society award-winners is impressive and, of course, we have a wonderful mix of awardees, since each prize is targeted to a different section of our community. This is due to great foresight by the Society’s managers and funders, over many many years. As well as congratulating the winners, I want to say thanks for all the hard work put in by nominators, supporters, Biochemical Society staff, and the Awards Panel during the current round, this scheme could not work without you, and your efforts made my job easy!”

You can read more about the recipients here: 

These winners will receive their prize and deliver an award or medal lecture in 2025. All of the awards and medal lectureships carry prize money and winners will be invited to submit an article to one of the Society’s journals.

Notes to editors

Founded in 1911, the Biochemical Society exists to advance molecular bioscience, promoting its importance as an academic discipline, highlighting its role in positively effecting societal challenges, and facilitating the sharing of expertise. Offering an extensive programme of scientific meetings and training events, grants and awards, educational resources, policy work and public engagement, the Society provides support for researchers and scientists across all career stages. It also publishes six journals, sharing world-leading research and reviews from across the molecular biosciences.


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Roddy Isles

Head of Corporate Communication

+44 (0)1382 384910