Wellcome funding success for Will Farnaby

Published on 17 May 2023

Dr Will Farnaby, Principal Investigator in the Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD), has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Early Career Award.

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The five-year funding will allow Will and his team to find new ways to discover effective treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such a Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

These diseases currently lack effective treatments and affect millions of people globally. There has been a high failure rate with potential new drugs due to them not working as hoped in humans during clinical trials. The research enabled by this award will identify new types of molecules and biological mechanisms, laying a path towards new drugs that work in a different way.

Will said, “Recent research has highlighted that in the brain cells of many Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Disease patients, small sub-compartments within brain cells, called mitochondria, are not removed when they become damaged, as they would be in a healthy individual. There are currently no ways to use drug molecules to restore this process. We will develop novel chemical and biological tools to understand how we can discover new types of molecules that can reach the brain and restore the health of brain cells.”

Professor Alessio Ciulli, Director of CeTPD said, “I’m super-proud of Will for his Early-Career Award. This is a major funding success within a year of being appointed Principal Investigator in the Centre. It is quite remarkable as it is notoriously hard to get funding from the Wellcome Trust for a chemist. Well done and a great start for his new group!”

Story category Awards and accolades, Research