Main Menu

Medicinal Chemistry 2 Team 

Professor Ian Collins' Team searches for new molecules that inhibit the activity of proteins responsible for the development and progression of cancer.

Members of the team form the medicinal chemistry group of the Cancer Research UK Children's Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence.

Team leader

Professor Ian Collins

Professor Ian Collins

Head of Chemistry

Professor Ian Collins is Head of Chemistry and leads a medicinal chemistry team at The Institute of Cancer Research. He is a key member of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit. The team develops molecules which are then used as tools to understand cancer biology and can be developed to make new drugs.

ORCID 0000-0002-8143-8498

Team members

Iona Black
Iona Black
PhD Student

I joined the ICR as a PhD student in October 2018. The aim of my research project is to develop novel chemical tool compounds to study and understand the scaffolding functions of the PARP enzyme tankyrase, a key cancer related protein involved in the regulation of cellular processes such as Wnt/β-catenin signalling and telomere length. My project is a multidisciplinary collaboration between the Cancer Therapeutics and Structural Biology divisions, with Prof Ian Collins and Dr Sebastian Guettler.

Dr John Caldwell
Dr John Caldwell
Staff Scientist +44 20 8722 4438

I have been at ICR for over 17 years, during which time I have worked on a number of small molecule targeting drug discovery projects. These have ranged from kinases, including AKT, to more recently molecular glue degraders, and invariably involve a strong element of structure based design in their approach.

Giacomo Casale
Giacomo Casale
PhD Student +44 20 3437 6220

I graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London in 2020. As an undergraduate, I spent a year in the Pintacuda lab at the Very High Field NMR Center (CRMN) in Lyon, France, where I worked on the characterisation of membrane proteins by solid-state NMR. At the ICR, I am working on a collaborative project with Professor Ian Collins and Dr Sebastian Guettler to develop chemical probes to study telomere function.

Dr Lindsay Evans
Dr Lindsay Evans
Staff Scientist +44 20 8722 4591

I am a medicinal chemist with a background in both anticancer and antimicrobial drug discovery. I joined the newly established Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence (CBTCE) in November 2019 and have been working in collaboration with the University of Cambridge to initiate the Centre’s first research projects. The aim of the CBTCE is to transform the way we develop treatments for children with brain tumours. I am interested in developing new small molecule therapeutics and chemical probes to interrogate cancer biology.

Dr Robert Gillespie
Dr Robert Gillespie
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 3437 6046

I joined the ICR in 2020 as a Postdoctoral Training Fellow working in the Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence (CBTCE). My role within the team is to design and synthesize novel compounds with activity against brain tumours and to design tool compounds for use in target identification experiments.

Dr Aaron Gregson
Dr Aaron Gregson
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 3437 6723

I am a Postdoctoral Training Fellow (Medicinal Chemist), currently designing/synthesising inhibitors of the microtubule-associated motor protein HSET, with the aim of inducing multi-polar mitosis in cancer cells containing supernumerary centrosomes.

Dr Rosemary Huckvale
Dr Rosemary Huckvale
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 3437 6216

I am a medicinal chemist and have worked on a number of different drug discovery projects. I design and synthesise drug-like molecules as potential new targeted therapeutics, and I have also worked with small molecule chemical probes to look at how proteins function in cancer cells. I am interested in designing and making compounds with new chemical modalities to hit tumour cells where they are vulnerable.

Dr Thomas Matthews
Dr Thomas Matthews
Senior Scientific Officer +44 20 8722 4730

I have worked at the ICR since 2001, first as a Post-doctoral Scientist before progressing to Senior Scientific Officer in 2009. During this time I have contributed to a number of successful drug discovery projects, including HSP90 and CHK1. As well as Medicinal Chemistry, I have an interest in Cheminformatics which has led me to help maintain and develop our Dotmatics databases, ELN and visualisation software.

Dr Tatiana McHardy
Dr Tatiana McHardy
Senior Scientific Officer +44 20 8722 4003

I'm a Medicinal Chemist working for the Chemistry Department. My main role is to synthesise compounds for drug development in which I apply my organic and medicinal chemistry knowledge. I also determine the solubility (by NMR and HPLC) and LogDs of our project compounds, which are important parameters in drug discovery. Apart from my research work at the ICR I'm also the Technician Commitment and Social Media representative of the Scientific Officers Association. My other interests involve the Athena Swan Programme and Public Engagement activities.

Dr Jack O'Hanlon
Dr Jack O'Hanlon
Higher Scientific Officer +44 20 3437 6509

I am a medicinal chemist working within the Children's Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence on the synthesis of new compounds for the treatment of paediatric ependymomas.

Barbara Sgorlon
Barbara Sgorlon
Executive Assistant

I am an EA within the Division of Cancer Therapeutics. I support Dr Olivia Rossanese in the role of Head of Biology and Team Leader of the TEMT team, and Professor Ian Collins in the role of Head of Chemistry and Team Leader of the MedChem 2 team. I contribute to the team with my expertise in administrative support so that everyone can focus their time and energies on researching innovative solutions for cancer treatment.

Justin Warne
Justin Warne
Higher Scientific Officer +44 20 3437 6644

My research area of interest is early stage drug discovery. I have recently started working on the design and synthesis of new inhibitors of HSET in order to interrupt centrosome clustering in cancer cells. Prior to that I spent two interesting years targeting CRBN and assisting in the creation of a library of small molecule protein degraders.

Dr Mehdi Zaghouani
Dr Mehdi Zaghouani
Postdoctoral Training Fellow +44 20 3437 6254

I am a post-doctoral fellow in the Medicinal Chemistry 2 Team. I obtained my PhD in 2016 from Pierre & Marie Curie University where I was supervised by Dr Bastien Nay. With a training in total synthesis of natural products, I specialise in organic synthesis of complex targets for pharmaceutical applications.