The Institute is made up of dedicated drug discovery teams led by a Chief Scientific Officer and a Lead Academic Scientist.
Chief Scientific Officer
Our Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) leads the Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute and drives scientific progress. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss potential collaborations.
Dr John Skidmore
John Skidmore is a chemist by training, receiving a BA and DPhil from the University of Oxford. Following a post doc at the University of Liverpool with Prof Stan Roberts, John joined GSK where he worked as a medicinal chemist and project leader in the pain and neurodegeneration therapeutic areas. In 2010 John moved to the University of Cambridge, where, funded through the Wellcome Trust’s Seeding Drug Discovery scheme, he led a number of protein-protein interaction inhibitor projects. In 2015 John moved within the University, to his present position as the CSO of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute. To discuss possible targets, please get in touch.
Head of Chemistry
Dr Steve Andrews
Steve Andrews obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry with Prof Steve Ley CBE FRS at the University of Cambridge. Following postdoctoral studies at ETH-Zürich with Prof Erick Carreira, Steve joined Heptares Therapeutics in 2008 where he played a key role in establishing the chemistry laboratories. Steve led structure-based drug design programs with “intractable” GPCRs across multiple disease areas at Heptares, including with peptide, orphan, purine, and chemokine receptors. He is a co-inventor of Heptares’ first nominated clinical candidate, the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist HTL-1071. Steve joined Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute as Head of Chemistry in 2016.
Head of Biology
Dr James Duce
James Duce obtained his Ph.D from Cardiff University in the neurobiology of Huntington’s disease. He broadened his neurodegenerative disease research knowledge through postdoctoral studies with Prof Carmela Abraham in Boston USA and Profs Colin Masters and Ashley Bush in Melbourne, Australia. His return to the UK in 2012, supported through an Alzheimer’s Research UK Senior Fellowship, enabled him to run a team at University of Leeds that validated several posttranslational modifications as disease targets. He has subsequently led several internationally funded translational projects in neurodegenerative disease. James joined Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute as Head of Biology in 2017.
Lead Academic Scientist
Our Lead Academic Scientist acts as an ambassador for the Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute, facilitating interactions with scientists and access to resources within the University of Cambridge and beyond.
Prof David Rubinsztein
David Rubinsztein did a BSc(Med) Hons and PhD at the University of Cape Town after his basic medical training and house jobs. He came to Cambridge in 1993 as a senior registrar in Genetic Pathology. He was awarded a Glaxo Wellcome Fellowship in 1997, a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellowship (2001, renewed in 2006) and a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship in 2011. He is also deputy director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.
David has focussed on understanding the biology of autophagy in mammalian systems, particularly in the context of neurodegenerative diseases. His laboratory was the first to suggest the strategy of autophagy upregulation as a possible therapeutic approach in various neurodegenerative diseases and they have identified drugs and novel pathways that may be exploited for this objective. His laboratory has also identified druggable pathways independent of autophagy that may be relevant to diseases caused by aggregate-prone proteins.
Collaborating academics include:
- Peter St George-Hyslop
- Michel Goedert
- Chris Dobson
- Rick Livesey
- Mike Murphy
- Chris Abell
- Ashok Venkitaraman
- John O’Brien
- Roger Barker
- Ed Bullmore.