Completion date: PhD (non-clinical) 1997
Dr Oliver Rausch completed his PhD at The Institute of Cancer Research in 1997. He is now Vice President Research & Development at Storm Therapeutics Ltd, a spin-out company from Cambridge University that is developing potential new cancer treatments.
Oliver’s PhD focussed on cell signalling, delving into the complex circuitry of how messages are transmitted around – to identify key points that could be targeted with cancer treatments.
“I really enjoyed my PhD - I have too many stand out memories to count! They include learning to speak English properly, publishing two first-author papers and giving a talk at Cold Spring Harbor laboratories,” he says.
Oliver is in no doubt that his experiences at the ICR have had a big influence on shaping his career path. “I was using newly available specific small molecule kinase inhibitors to study the role of p38 and MEK, which got me interested in pharmacology. I was fascinated by the opportunity of targeting signalling cascades for drug discovery,” he explains.
Moving into industry, Oliver has since gained over 15 years’ experience of drug discovery at companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, UCB Celltech and Cellzome. In 2012, he became Programme Director at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in London where he was responsible for an industry partnership programme developing and delivering clinical trials in experimental medicine and early drug development.
In his current role, he is responsible for developing Storm’s target discovery platform, and for delivering small molecule drugs from its emerging drug discovery pipeline.
“What I enjoy most is being able to drive a business and at the same time carrying out cutting edge research in a very exciting area of biology,” he says. “I want to make the company a success and see our portfolio of drug discovery programmes move towards the clinic.”
Reflecting on what he gained from his PhD, Oliver says: “I learned how to focus on the critical piece of research, with an eye on publishable data. I was also inspired by the friendship and sheer fun we had in the lab and at the ICR.”