Prof David Gray honoured in HM Queen’s Birthday honours

David Gray, Head of Biology and Professor of Translational Biology at the University’s Drug Discovery Unit, has been given a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the Delivery of Testing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Gray helped establish Scotland’s central Covid-19 testing facility, Glasgow Lighthouse Laboratory,  in support of the national response to the coronavirus pandemic. He had an integral role in the design and implementation of the Scottish testing centre, and also advised on operating procedures.

The centre, based at the University of Glasgow, was created in April 2020 and has since processed more than 13 million tests.

Professor Gray said, “This honour belongs to the entire amazing Glasgow Lighthouse team. It has been a privilege for me to work with them in delivering high quality and high throughput Covid diagnostic testing. I am grateful to them and for the support that my colleagues at Dundee have given me.

However, the biggest thank you must go to my wife, Nicola. She kept our family fed, educated and mostly smiling, giving me time to be able to contribute to the testing centre. She is the one that deserves a medal.”

The Drug Discovery Unit, housed within the School of Life Sciences, houses a fully operational, fully integrated drug discovery group working across multiple disease areas. Professor Gray and colleagues collaborate with partners around the world to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need across two main areas of activity, Diseases of the Developing World and Innovative Targets Portfolio.

David joined the DDU in 2010 as Head of Biology. He is responsible for a line team of more than 40 scientists with a diverse range of scientific expertise and is accountable for the quality and effectiveness of the biological experimental design and data that underpins all of the DDU portfolios of projects.

David has a specific responsibility as Principal Investigator on projects with Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) and Medicines for Malaria (MMV) plus is academic lead on the Innovative Targets Portfolio (ITP) that encompasses high quality projects in any therapeutic area where there is a clinical unmet need.


Congratulations also to Prof Jason Swedlow, Professor of Quantitative Cell Biology in the School of Life Sciences, who has been awarded an Honorary OBE for his services to Biological Imaging, technology which measures the structure and function of cells and tissues.

Professor Swedlow’s research focuses on cell division and the development of software tools to allow the accessing, processing, sharing and publishing of large scientific image datasets. He leads OME, an international consortium that develops and releases open source software for biological imaging, and is founder of Glencoe Software, which commercialises and customises OME technology for use in academic and biopharmaceutical research.

In February 2021, he was appointed as Programme Director at Wellcome Leap, which builds research programs to deliver breakthroughs in human health. He leads the Delta Tissue Program, which aims to deliver capabilities for measuring and predicting outcomes for individuals with tuberculosis, glioblastoma and triple negative breast cancer.

Prof. Swedlow  served on the Scientific Advisory Board to WCAIR in 2020.


14 June 2021