Oliver Korb - Senior Scientist, Discovery Informatics at Roche
Oliver studied computer science with a minor in chemistry at Darmstadt University of Technology followed by a PhD in computational chemistry at the University of Constance, Germany. During this time he focused on method development in the area of molecular docking, scoring functions and small molecule overlay generation. He continued his research in this area as a postdoc in the CCDC.
On completing his postdoc, he stayed at the CCDC as a scientific software engineer mainly contributing to GOLD development, the conformer generator and the CSD Crossminer. In 2016, Oliver joined the discovery informatics group at Roche where he is focused on improving workflows in small molecule research.
Mike Bodkin - Senior Vice President Research Informatics at Evotec
Mike did his PhD for Nobel laureate sir James Black before taking up a fellowship in computational drug design with Philip Dean at Cambridge University. He moved to AstraZeneca as a computational chemist before joining Lilly in 2000.
After 14 years and head of the computational drug discovery group at Lilly he moved to Evotec where he is currently SVP research informatics. His research aims and ambitions are to continue to develop novel algorithms for drug discovery.
Neil Champness - Professor of Chemical Nanoscience at the University of Nottingham
Neil Champness is the Professor of Chemical Nanoscience at the University of Nottingham, UK.
His research spans chemical nanoscience and molecular organization. In particular he focusses on molecular design and synthetic methods, employing self-assembly to create framework materials on surfaces and in the solid-state and for the creation of interlocked structures in solution. His research achievements have been recognised by the award of a number of Royal Society of Chemistry prizes including the Corday-Morgan Medal and Prize (2006), Supramolecular Chemistry Award (2010) and Surfaces and Interfaces Award (2016).
He held a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship (2010) and a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award (2011-2016). He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales (FLSW), the European Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC). In 2011 he was identified as one of the top 100 most cited chemists of the previous decade worldwide.
Aurora J. Cruz-Cabeza - Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester
Dr. Aurora J. Cruz-Cabeza is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Sciences. After her PhD from the University of Cambridge (2008), she worked at Pfizer and then held several postdoctoral positions at CCDC, the University of Amsterdam and Hofmann-La Roche.
She arrived to Manchester in 2016 where she has established her own research group in solid state chemistry and crystallisation. Aurora has authored over 50 research articles and has given over 60 research talks around the world. Some of her best well-known work lies in the area of polymorphism in molecular crystals.
She currently holds a Royal Society Industry Fellowship in AstraZeneca, she is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at CCDC, Editorial Board Member of CrystEngComm, and a topic Editor for Crystal Growth and Design. Aurora is also a mother of a wonderful boy, she loves travelling, photography, music and Spain.
Andrew Leach – Lecturer at Liverpool John-Moores University
Andrew Leach is a Senior Lecturer in pharmaceutical chemistry in the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry at the University of Manchester. Previously, he was at Liverpool John Moores University, in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences. In both roles, he has undertaken research to develop new computational methods to assist with the design of new and better medicines. He has investigated how to apply quantum mechanical calculations to predict protein-ligand binding affinity and the rate of racemisation. He has also continued to develop matched molecular pair analysis as a technique to permit large databases of pharmaceutical data to inform compound design.
Before returning to the academic environment, Dr Leach worked as a computational chemist as Astrazeneca for 9 years. During this time, he was involved in projects spanning oncology and diabetes and obesity. He was a co-inventor of capivasertib currently in Phase III clinical trials for breast and prostate cancer. He also contributed to the design of AZD4547, which progressed into Phase II clinical trials in a range of cancer types. During this time, he helped to develop and promote matched molecular pair analysis. Dr Leach is also a co-founder and director of Medchemica limited which makes this analysis available across the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr Leach undertook post-doctoral research investigating pericylic reactions and biological catalysis at the University of California, Los Angeles with Prof. K. N. Houk. He obtained his PhD developing new techniques for combinatorial chemistry from the University of Cambridge with Prof. S. V. Ley. Outside of work, Andrew is a keen brass band player, playing second horn with Sale Brass band.
Martin Stahl – Head of Lead Discovery, Therapeutic Modalities, at Roche pRED
Martin Stahl is a chemist by training and begun his career in the pharmaceutical industry as a computational chemist. He has been working at the Roche Innovation Center Basel for over two decades, holding a variety of leadership roles in molecular design, medicinal chemistry, portfolio management, immunology and in various technology areas. He is currently Head of Lead Discovery.
His research interests cover a broad range of topics, with a particular focus on rational planning and decision making in highly complex research environments. Martin has published widely on molecular design and has been a recipient of an ACS National Award for Computers in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Georgia McGaughey - Global Head of Modelling and Informatics at Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Scientific research Leader with a broad background in Pharmaceutical Computational Chemistry, including neuroscience, oncology, pain, infectious disease, misfolded proteins, vaccines and cardiovascular research (impact has led to six compounds in clinical development and one PET-tracer (MK-8193) used to measure target engagement). One of the compounds in clinical development (MK-4035) is now a marketed drug: Belsomra.
Experienced in program strategy, development and leveraging new technologies to accelerate the drug discovery process. Particular expertise with virtual screening, structure guided drug design and phenotypic approaches. Known as a skilled mentor, global leader and an exceptionally collaborative member of drug discovery programs with impact on all lead optimization projects at Vertex. Diverse team leadership experience spans HTS, lead identification and optimization, and preclinical candidacy selection. Specific interest in combining computational chemistry methods with the most appropriate experimental technique(s) to impact drug discovery projects via testable hypotheses.
Andy Cooper - Professor, Director of the Materials Innovation Factory at the University of Liverpool
Andy is a Nottingham graduate (1991), also obtaining his Ph.D there in 1994. After his Ph.D, he held a 1851 Fellowship and a Royal Society NATO Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, and then a Ramsay Memorial Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. In 1999, he was appointed as a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in Liverpool.
In 2007, he was the founding Director of the Centre for Materials Discovery—the forerunner of the MIF—which cemented a long-term strategic collaboration between Unilever and the University of Liverpool. He was Head of Chemistry and then the first Head of the School of Physical Sciences in the period 2007-2012, during which time he served on the University Council.
In 2017, he co-founded a spin-out company, Porous Liquid Technologies, with collaborators at Queens University Belfast, based on an entirely new class of material, porous liquids, invented in the UK as part of an EPSRC-funded project (Nature, 2015, 527, 216).
Andy led the bid to establish the Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) via the UK Research Partnerships Infrastructure Fund and he is its first Academic Director. He is also the Director of the £10 M Leverhulme Centre for Functional Materials Design. His main research interests are organic materials, supramolecular chemistry, and materials for energy production and molecular separation. This is underpinned by a strong technical interest in high-throughput methods and robotics. A unifying theme in his research is the close fusion of computational prediction and experiment to discover new materials with step-change properties (Nature, 2011, 474, 367; Nature, 2017, 543, 657). This has involved close collaboration with Graeme Day, Professor of Chemical Modelling at the University of Southampton.
Andy was elected to the Royal Society in 2015. He has been awarded the Macro Group Young Researchers Award (2002), the RSC Award in Environmentally Friendly Polymers (2005), the McBain Medal (2007), the Corday-Morgan Prize (2009), the Macro Group Award (2010), a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, the Tilden Prize (2014), the American Chemical Society Doolittle Award (2014) and the Hughes Medal (2019). He was also the 2015 MIT-Georgia Pacific Lecturer in Organic Chemistry. In both 2011 and 2014, Andy was named in a Thomson Reuters list as one of the Top 100 materials scientists of the last decade. He was also named in the more recent 2017 Clarivate Highly Cited list in the field of chemistry. He was awarded an ERC Advanced Investigators grant in 2012 (RobOT). In 2015, he was appointed as a Consultant Professor in Hauzhong University of Science & Technology, China. He was also appointed as an Honorary Professor at East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, in 2017.