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Prof Simon MacKay

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Personal statement

Simon Mackay is the Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science at the University of Strathclyde and has 25 years’ experience of research and teaching in the application of medicinal chemistry to drug discovery. He is a graduate of the University of Bath (BPharm (Hons); 1984) and the University of Manchester (PhD Medicinal Chemistry; 1990). In terms of research, his primary interest is cancer drug discovery, and he is the Principal Investigator for a £3.0M CRUK-funded programme to identify small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of prostate cancer (, which involves leading and co-ordinating a multidisciplinary team including medicinal chemists, phytochemists, biochemists, pharmacologists and clinicians. This programme has recently been funded by Prostate Cancer UK and MRC.  He is also involved in a kinesin drug discovery project with collaborators at UCL to identify new Eg5 inhibitors.   He has led the medicinal chemistry team for a number of industry-funded drug discovery projects, including the identification of non-steroidal neuroprotective compounds for Hunter-Fleming, PTP1B inhibitors for Kyorin Pharmaceutical and the £9.3M drug discovery programme targeting the Ubiquitin Proteasome System, funded by Scottish Enterprise.

He is a co-founder of (, an EPSRC-BBSRC- MRC initiative to establish an academia-Users Network in Chemical Biology to initiate, establish and nurture collaborative projects for the advancement of the drug discovery process. This links with the Drug Discovery Portal (DDP, which is a major strategic initiative in international research and knowledge-exchange at the University of Strathclyde that brings together the rich, but currently isolated resources in drug research in academic institutions worldwide and provides an accessible central resource to allow chemists and biologists to boost their current drug discovery research efforts.

Over the past 5 years, he has attracted over £4.8M of external funding on drug discovery projects.

In addition to being a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, he is on the Expert Advisory Panel for Pharmaceutical Science and the Translational Biology Directorate of the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance. He is the external examiner for degree programmes in drug discovery and phamacy at the University of Edinburgh and Robert Gordons University. He is a member of the Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy Panel for the Research Excellence Framework 2014.


Inhibitory Kappa B kinase α (IKKα) inhibitors that recapitulate their selectivity in cells against isoform-related biomarkers
Anthony Nahoum G., Baiget Jessica, Berretta Giacomo, Boyd Marie, Breen David, Edwards Joanne, Gamble Carly, Gray Alexander I., Harvey Alan L., Hatziieremia Sophia, Ho Ka Ho, Huggan Judith K., Lang Stuart, Llona-Minguez Sabin, Luo Jia Lin, McIntosh Kathryn, Paul Andrew, Plevin Robin J., Robertson Murray N., Scott Rebecca, Suckling Colin J., Sutcliffe Oliver Brook, Young Louise C., MacKay Simon P.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry Vol 60, pp. 7043-7066, (2017)
Pyrrole-imidazole polyamides : manual solid-phase synthesis
Pauff Steven M., Fallows Andrew J., Mackay Simon P., Su Wu, Cullis Paul M., Burley Glenn A.
Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid ChemistryCurrent Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry, (2015)
Utility of a mechanistic model to investigate the uptake of rosuvastatin in human hepatocytes and time-dependent inhibition of cyclosporine A and cyclosporine AM1.
Hobbs Michael, MacKay Simon, Grant Mary, Bloomer J
13th European ISSX meeting, pp. 82, (2015)
The discovery and development of Eg5 inhibitors for the clinic
Good James A. D., Berretta Giacomo, Anthony Nahoum G., Mackay Simon P.
Kinesins and CancerKinesins and Cancer, (2015)
Resveratrol and its oligomers : modulation of sphingolipid metabolism and signaling in disease
Lim Keng Gat, Gray Alexander I., Anthony Nahoum G., MacKay Simon P., Pyne Susan, Pyne Nigel J.
Archives of Toxicology Vol 88, pp. 2213-2232, (2014)
Recognition of the DNA minor groove by thiazotropsin analogues
Alniss Hasan Y., Salvia Marie Virginie, Sadikov Mykhailo, Golovchenko Igor, Anthony Nahoum G., Khalaf Abedawn I., MacKay Simon P., Suckling Colin J., Parkinson John A.
Chembiochem Vol 15, pp. 1978–1990, (2014)

more publications

Professional activities

Prostate Cancer UK (External organisation)
REF (External organisation)
Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science
Invited speaker
Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Invited speaker
Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Finland Academy of Science (External organisation)

more professional activities


CRUK evaluation of IKK inhibitors
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Sep-2018 - 31-Oct-2018
Prevention of CXCL12 production in cells of the cardiovascular system by IKK alpha inhibition (BHF PhD Studentship)
Plevin, Robin (Principal Investigator) Coats, Paul (Co-investigator) MacKay, Simon (Co-investigator) Paul, Andrew (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2018 - 30-Sep-2021
An EPSRC Life Sciences Interface Doctoral Training Centre for Medical Devices | Busby, Grahame
Grant, Mary (Principal Investigator) MacKay, Simon (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2007 - 16-Jan-2013
First-in-class drugs for CRPC
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator) Boyd, Marie (Co-investigator) Paul, Andrew (Co-investigator) Plevin, Robin (Co-investigator)
Period 01-May-2013 - 30-Apr-2016
Donation towards Drug Discovery Portal
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator)
Period 13-Aug-2007 - 30-Nov-2007
Thiolactomycin and related inhibitors targeting fatty acid elongase enzymes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator) Coxon, Geoffrey (Co-investigator) Johnston, Blair (Co-investigator)
Period 01-May-2005 - 30-Apr-2008

more projects


Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
John Arbuthnott Building Robertson Wing

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