Professor Ian Gilbert elected Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences

Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infective Research’s Professor Ian Gilbert has been elected to join the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Gilbert is one of 50 prominent biomedical and health scientists to be elected to the respected and influential Fellowship.

The new Fellows have been selected for their exceptional contributions to the advancement of medical science through innovative research discoveries and translating scientific developments into benefits for patients and the wider society.

Professor Ian Gilbert is Head of Chemistry in the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), which he helped set up in Dundee’s School of Life Sciences. As a medicinal chemist, his research interests lie primarily in the design and synthesis of potential drugs, and his work has a particular focus on infectious diseases which affect low- and middle-income countries, such as malaria, cryptosporidosis and visceral leishmaniasis.

Ian said, “I am very excited to have received this award. Drug discovery is very much a team science, and I have been privileged to work with a great group of co-workers, both in Dundee and through various collaborations.”

Ian’s focus on medicinal chemistry research for neglected tropical diseases started in 1994 when he established his first research group within the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University. In 2005 Ian moved to University of Dundee to become Professor and Head of Medicinal Chemistry and help start the DDU. Ian has been particularly involved in the DDU’s drug discovery for neglected infectious diseases.

Ian, Prof. Kevin Read and Dr Beatriz Baragaña lead the malaria team that delivered the DDU’s first preclinical candidate (DDD107498) a potential single dose treatment for malaria which is now in early clinical trials . The DDU Malaria team have twice won MMV’s prestigious project of the year. Firstly in 2014 for the development of DDD107498 in 2014. Then in 2018 the team won the award for work on a new series of compounds which kill the malaria parasite through a different mechanism of action. Recently funding of £2.4 million from The Global Health Innovative Technology has been announced to progress this project. Ian’s expertise has also contributed to the 2 pre-clinical candidates the DDU have delivered for visceral leishmaniasis. Ian has also helped to establish the mode of action group, led by Dr Susan Wyllie, which seeks to find how compounds active against parasites are working.

Ian acts as a mentor not just for chemists within the DDU but also for those working within disease endemic countries. He is leading on building a training and capacity building collaboration between WCAIR and Universities in Ghana. In 2019 Ian brought together in Dundee scientists from across the globe to pool their knowledge and expertise to solve the challenges for neglected tropical diseases through the WCAIR conference, Setting our Sights on Infectious Diseases.

Ian’s election to the Academy of Medical Sciences builds on the recognition Ian received last year when he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh  and his election as Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012.

The Academy’s new Fellows for 2021 include experts who have spearheaded the Covid-19 response, as well as others who are continuing to advance biomedical sciences in innovative ways for health challenges beyond the pandemic.

Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said, “I am truly delighted to welcome these 50 new Fellows to the Academy’s Fellowship, and I offer my congratulations to each of them on their exceptional contribution to biomedical and health science. The knowledge, skill and influence that each brings to the Fellowship is the Academy’s most powerful asset. Although it is hard to look beyond the pandemic right now, I want to stress how important it is that the Academy Fellowship represents the widest diversity of biomedical and health sciences. The greatest health advances rely on the findings of many types of research, and on multidisciplinary teams and cross-sector and global collaboration. I am pleased that the newest cohort of Fellows demonstrates this breadth of expertise, from microbiology to healthcare law and medical statistics. I also warmly welcome the three new Fellows bringing knowledge and insight from the industry sector. Translational collaboration with industry is necessary for patients to reap the full benefits of UK research.”

The Academy of Medical Sciences is the independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science. Elected Fellows are leading medical scientists from hospitals, academia, industry and the public service. The Society’s mission is to advance biomedical and health research and its translation into benefits for society.

The new Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy on Thursday 1 July.


12 May 2021