Prof Ian Gilbert FRSC

Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Head of Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee

Head of Chemistry, Drug Discovery Unit, Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research

Roles and Responsibilities:

Head of Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, Head of Chemistry of the and member of the Senior Management Team of the drug Discovery Unit (DDU) and Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research, and Director of Antimicrobial Resistance Centre (University of Dundee), member of the ScotCHEM Executive Board.

Research Interests:

Our goal in the DDU is to translate life sciences research into therapeutic applications to address unmet medical needs. My research focuses around Drug Discovery for Neglected Diseases and Novel Targets.  The aim is to establish proof of concept for new drug targets and develop pre-clinical candidates for neglected diseases.

I have particular interests in the following aspects:
1. Neglected diseases, such as human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, malaria, and bacterial infections
2. Chemical validation of novel targets for which there is little or no precedence for drug discovery
3. Novel approaches to/and paradigms for drug discovery
4. Mode of action studies and target identification.

Key Publications:

Cyclin-dependent kinase 12 is a drug target for visceral leishmaniasis
Nature, 2018, 560 192-197 nature60

Challenges and recent progress in drug discovery for tropical diseases
Nature, 2015, 559, 498-506 nature60

A novel multiple-stage antimalarial agent that inhibits protein synthesis
Nature, 2015, 522, 315-320 nature60

Lead Optimization of a Pyrazole Sulfonamide Series of Trypanosoma brucei N-Myristoyltransferase Inhibitors: Idenification and Evaluation of CNS Penetrant Compounds as Potential Treatments for Stage 2 Human African Trypanosomiasis
J Med. Chem, 2014, 57, 9855-9869 JMedChem

Automated design of ligands to polypharmacological profiles
Nature, 2012, 492, 215-22 nature60

Design, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Trypanosoma brucei Trypanothione Synthetase Inhibitors
ChemMedChem, 2012, 7, 95-106  ChemMedChem-60

N-myristoyltransferase inhibitors as new leads to treat sleeping sickness
Nature, 2010, 464, 728-732  nature60


By discipline, I am a medicinal chemist. My PhD was in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of  Cambridge. Following post-doctoral research in medicinal and biological chemistry projects, I established my own research group, focusing on medicinal chemistry at Cardiff University. In 2005, I moved to Dundee, where I helped to establish the Drug Discovery Unit.

The mainstay of my research is synthetic medicinal chemistry as part of the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), where I am Head of Chemistry. The DDU is a fully integrated, state-of-the-art drug discovery facility with all of the capabilities required for early phase drug discovery: assay development, high throughput screening, cell biology, medicinal chemistry, structural biology, computational chemistry and DMPK.