Meet the Team

Oxford Drug Discovery Institute

Chief Scientific Officer

Our Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) leads the Oxford Drug Discovery Institute and drives scientific progress. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss potential collaborations.

Dr John Davis

Dr John Davis

Following postdoctoral training at the Ludwig Institute and the Salk Institute, John joined GlaxoSmithKline where he led a variety of non-clinical pharmacology research departments for pain and neurodegenerative diseases. In 2010, John and colleagues formed the spinout company Convergence Pharmaceuticals, which John later left to become Director of Discovery for Selcia Ltd., and CSO and cofounder of Cypralis Ltd. John has 20 years of drug discovery expertise from target to phase IIa and has helped steer a dozen drug candidates into clinical development and to four positive proof of concepts.

 

Head of Chemistry

Paul Brennan

Prof Paul Brennan

Paul received his PhD in organic chemistry from UC Berkeley working on combinatorial chemistry and antibiotics. Following post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge on total synthesis, Paul returned to California to take a position at Amgen. His research was focussed on kinase inhibitors for oncology. After two years at Amgen, Paul moved to Pfizer in Sandwich, UK. In 2011, Paul joined the Structural Genomics Consortium as the Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Nuffield Department of Medicine to discover chemical probes for epigenetic proteins.

 

Head of Biology

Elena Di Daniel

Dr Elena Di Daniel

Elena received her PhD in Biology at University College London working on the mechanism of action of mood stabilizing drugs. Prior to joining the Oxford Drug Discovery Institute, Elena accumulated over 15 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry working with GSK, Takeda and UCB on bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Elena has led teams of scientists responsible for target validation and the initiation of early drug discovery projects and the introduction of stem cell technologies for neuroscience research. Consequently, Elena was responsible for the introduction of several neuroscience targets into the portfolios of these companies and the progression of projects through the early stages of the drug discovery process. She is excited to be working to help translate cutting-edge academic research into medicines to cure or prevent dementia. 

Lead Academic Scientists

Our Lead Academic Scientists act as ambassadors for the Oxford Drug Discovery Institute, facilitating interactions with scientists and access to resources within the University of Oxford and beyond.

Chas_Bountra

Prof Chas Bountra

Chas Bountra is Professor of Translational Medicine, Head of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), Acting Director of BioEscalator, a Theme Lead in the Academic Health Science Network and Director of Oxford Innovations,  at the University of Oxford. He has nearly three decades of academic and industrial experience in target identification, lead discovery, lead optimisation, and clinical trial design for several neuro-psychiatric, gastro-intestinal and inflammatory conditions. He has taken more than 40 novel molecules into Phase I, and more than 20 into Phase II, he was the first to demonstrate the anti-emetic effects of NK1 antagonists, helped launch Alostetron for IBS and recently helped a biotech develop a novel analgesic. He has now established the SGC as a world leading outfit for human protein structural biology, chemical biology and ‘open’ target discovery. Prof Bountra was voted one of the top innovators in the industry in 2012, and is an invited expert on several government and charitable research funding bodies; advisor for many academic, biotech and pharma drug discovery programmes.

Simon Lovestone

Prof Sir Simon Lovestone

Simon Lovestone is Lead for the NIHR Translational Research Collaboration in Dementia – a network of six centres in England working together in translational research for dementia, and Deputy Director of the MRC Dementias Platform UK. He is also Professor of Translational Neuroscience at Oxford University. He has research interests in the regulation of tau phosphorylation, dementia therapeutics and in the search for genetic and other biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. He has a particular interest in harnessing the power of informatics, including clinical informatics and bioinformatics, and developing innovative ways to extract value from very large variable datasets.