Dr Steven Whittaker gained an undergraduate degree in Applied Biochemistry from Brunel University, London in 1999.
He joined Professor Paul Workman’s team at the ICR as a PhD student to study the molecular pharmacology of novel inhibitors of the cyclin-dependent kinases, in collaboration with Cyclacel Ltd. This work contributed to the advancement of two compounds into clinical trials (seliciclib and CYC065).
In 2004, Dr Whittaker then joined the laboratory of Professor Richard Marais to work on the development of novel inhibitors of the RAF protein kinases in collaboration with Professor Caroline Springer. These compounds are undergoing preclinical evaluation, with the aim of advancing one candidate to phase I clinical trials with The Royal Marsden hospital through a Strategic Translation Award from the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Whittaker moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 2010 where he joined the laboratory of Professor Levi Garraway at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute. Investigating mechanisms of resistance to inhibitors of oncogenic BRAF in melanoma and colorectal cancers using genome-scale RNA interference screens, Dr Whittaker and colleagues identified novel therapeutic strategies to overcome clinically relevant mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibitors.
On his return to the ICR as a Career Development Fellow in 2013, Dr Whittaker established a new effort to advance our knowledge of drug resistance mechanisms. With a primary focus on KRAS-driven cancers, Dr Whittaker’s team is using CRISPR loss-of-function screens, pharmacogenomics and small molecule drug screens to identify new drug targets and generate novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of multiple myeloma, pancreatic and colorectal cancers.