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.


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 (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)
Determining the prognostic significance of IKKα in prostate cancer
Montes Melania, MacKenzie Lewis, McAllister Milly J, Roseweir Antonia, McCall Pamela, Hatziieremia Sophia, Underwood Mark A, Boyd Marie, Paul Andrew, Plevin Robin, MacKay Simon P, Edwards Joanne
Prostate Vol 80, pp. 1188-1202 (2020)
A new class of ratiometric small molecule intracellular pH sensors for Raman microscopy
Wilson Liam T, Tipping William J, Jamieson Lauren E, Wetherill Corinna, Henley Zoë, Faulds Karen, Graham Duncan, MacKay Simon P, Tomkinson Nick C O
Analyst Vol 145, pp. 5289-5298 (2020)
Is the fate of clinical candidate Arry-520 already sealed? Predicting resistance in Eg5-inhibitor complexes
Indorato Rose-Laure, Talapatra Sandeep K, Lin Fangzhu, Haider Shozeb, MacKay Simon P, Kozielski Frank, Skoufias Dimitrios A
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Vol 18, pp. 2394-2406 (2019)
Topographical mapping of isoform-selectivity determinants for J-channel-binding inhibitors of sphingosine kinases 1 and 2
Adams David R, Tawati Salha, Berretta Giacomo, Rivas Paula Lopez, Baiget Jessica, Jiang Zhong, Alsfouk Aisha, MacKay Simon P, Pyne Nigel J, Pyne Susan
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry Vol 62, pp. 3658-3676 (2019)

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
Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Invited speaker
Finland Academy of Science (External organisation)

More professional activities


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 - 30-Jan-2022
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 - 01-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
First-in-class drugs for CRPC
MacKay, Simon (Principal Investigator) Boyd, Marie (Co-investigator) Paul, Andrew (Co-investigator) Plevin, Robin (Co-investigator) Suckling, Colin (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2013 - 30-Jan-2016

More projects


Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Robertson Wing

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