Professor 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.

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IL-1β stimulates a novel, IKKα -dependent, NIK -independent activation of non-canonical NFκB signalling
McIntosh Kathryn, Khalaf Yousif H, Craig Rachel, West Christopher, McCulloch Ashley, Waghmare Ajay, Lawson Christopher, Chan Edmond YW, MacKay Simon, Paul Andrew, Plevin Robin
Cellular Signalling Vol 107 (2023)
JAK–STAT signalling shapes the NF‐κB response in CLL towards venetoclax sensitivity or resistance via Bcl‐XL
Haselager Marco V, Thijssen Rachel, Bax Danique, Both Demi, De Boer Francien, Mackay Simon, Dubois Julie, Mellink Clemens, Kater Arnon P, Eldering Eric
Molecular Oncology Vol 17, pp. 1112-1128 (2023)
Targeting the non-canonical NF-κB pathway in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and multiple myeloma
Burley Thomas A, Kennedy Emma, Broad Georgia, Boyd Melanie, Li David, Woo Timothy, West Christopher, Ladikou Eleni E, Ashworth Iona, Fegan Christopher, Johnston Rosalynd, Mitchell Simon, Mackay Simon P, Pepper Andrea G S, Pepper Chris
Cancers Vol 14 (2022)
Mitokyne : a ratiometric raman probe for mitochondrial pH
Wilson Liam T, Tipping William J, Wetherill Corinna, Henley Zoë, Faulds Karen, Graham Duncan, Mackay Simon P, Tomkinson Nicholas C O
Analytical Chemistry Vol 93, pp. 12786-12792 (2021)
O47 : IKK-alpha as a potential novel target for treatment of colorectal cancer
Patel M, Quinn JA, Pennel KAF, Flanagan D, Horgan PG, McMillan DC, MacKay S, Sansom O, Edwards J
British Journal of Surgery Vol 108 (2021)
Regulation of Bcl-XL by non-canonical NF-κB in the context of CD40-induced drug resistance in CLL
Haselager Marco, Thijssen Rachel, West Christopher, Young Louise, Van Kampen Roel, Willmore Elaine, Mackay Simon, Kater Arnon, Eldering Eric
Cell Death and Differentiation Vol 28, pp. 1658-1668 (2021)

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Professional Activities

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

More professional activities


TargoPep: a cell selective delivery platform for therapeutic payloads (Follow on Fund)
Burley, Glenn (Principal Investigator) MacKay, Simon (Co-investigator) Perrie, Yvonne (Co-investigator) McWhinnie, Fergus (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2024
Development of a first-in-class IKKalpha inhibitor for the treatment of castrate resistant p
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator) Halbert, Gavin (Co-investigator) Paul, Andrew (Co-investigator) Suckling, Colin (Co-investigator) Watson, David (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2024
CRUK evaluation of IKK inhibitors
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2018
David Begg / NSF Studentship | Webb, Cameron
Perrie, Yvonne (Principal Investigator) MacKay, Simon (Co-investigator) Webb, Cameron (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 16-Jan-2022
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)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2022
Identification of pre-clinical SK1 inhibitors for the treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension
Pyne, Nigel (Principal Investigator) MacKay, Simon (Co-investigator) Pyne, Susan (Co-investigator)
26-Jan-2013 - 25-Jan-2014

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Professor Simon MacKay
Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Tel: 548 2866