28 June - 29 June 2021

New approaches in medicinal chemistry 2021

Organised by:

SCI's Young Chemists’ Panel 

Online Webinar: 13:00 BST (consecutive afternoons)

Registration Closed

This event is no longer available for registration.


This two-afternoon symposium will showcase novel approaches to drug design from both academic and industrial perspectives. Themed sessions will highlight topics such as the value of properties and metrics in drug design, hit-finding with photoaffinity-based tools and the development of modern protein degraders.

There will be a session detailing structurally informed approaches including CryoEM and NMR, and COVID Moonshot will describe an open-access antiviral drug discovery project. The meeting will then culminate in a panel discussion addressing challenges in the field and questions from the audience.


This conference is for academic and industrial medicinal chemists at all career points, with an interest in applying innovative and modern strategies to the early stages of drug discovery.


Prof Alessio Ciulli

University of Dundee

Alessio Ciulli is a Professor of Chemical Structural Biology at the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. He obtained his M.Sc. (University of Florence) and Ph.D. degrees (University of Cambridge) in Chemistry, followed by post-doctoral research at Cambridge and Yale Universities. Research in the Ciulli Lab is directed towards the development of small molecules targeting protein interactions and protein degradation. He received numerous awards, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Dr. Ciulli is the scientific founder of Amphista therapeutics, a company that develops novel medicines through targeted protein degradation.

Dr Chris Parker

Scripps Research Institute

Chris received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University (2013) under the supervision of David Spiegel, where he developed a class of bifunctional molecules that recruit antibodies to diseased cells resulting in their immune clearance. Chris carried out postdoctoral studies under the supervision of Ben Cravatt at Scripps Research, where he developed chemical proteomic platforms aimed towards expanding the ligandable proteome. Chris started his independent lab at Scripps in August 2018 in the Department of Chemistry where his group develops chemistry-centric strategies to investigate human biology in therapeutic contexts.

Elisa Moro

Aptuit (Verona) Srl, an Evotec Company

Principal Scientist with more than 15 years’ experience in NMR Spectroscopy, both in a global and integrated research center operating at international level (GSK) and in CRO contest.
M.Sc in Chemistry at the University of Bologna (Italy) with a thesis “Folding study with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance of Liver Basic Fatty acid binding protein”.
Specialistic support to Medicinal Chemistry projects, including structural determination with stereochemistry and regiochemistry assessment of new chemical entities. Proved expertise in conformational studies in solution. Implementation of the FBDD platform in Aptuit Verona with proprietary fragments library.
Acknowledged academic collaboration with local University, training undergraduates, to develop new applications of NMR technique.

Dr Frank Von Delft

Oxford University

Frank von Delft is Professor of Structural Chemical Biology at the University of Oxford, where he heads the Protein Crystallography group of the Structural Genomics Consortium; and Principal Beamline Scientist at Diamond Light Source, head of the I04-1 experimental station and the associated XChem programme for fragment screening. He is also Visiting Professor at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Johannesburg. He leads three research facilities that serve large user communities, are critical to multiple large, international research networks, and provide the outlet for wide-spread use of his methodologies.

Dr Jake Bush


Dr Jacob Bush is a Director in the Chemical Biology department at GSK. After completing a degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford, Jake studied for a DPhil in chemical biology in the lab of Chris Schofield. With an interest for translational science, he joined GSK in 2015 to explore ways to accelerate drug discovery. By combining chemoproteomic and chemogenomic approaches using covalent fragments, Jake and his team aim to discover new targets with therapeutic potential and use machine learning algorithms to accelerate the drug discovery process.

Dr Jing Dong


Dr Jing Dong got his PhD degree in structural biology from Institute of Biophysics of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He went on postdoc trainings in the field of computational structural based drug design first in National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing and later in University of Zurich. Dr. Jing Dong joined Astex in 2016 working in structural biology and software development. He focuses in X-ray technology and recently cryo-EM at Astex.

Maria Madeira


Maria Madeira is a Principal Scientist at MSD. Her interests include understanding the properties influencing dose optimization and how they can be effectively incorporated into early drug discovery strategies. Prior to joining Merck, Maria received an MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of British Columbia and a BSc in Toxicology from the University of Guelph.

Dr Rob Young

Blue Burgundy Ltd

Rob joined Wellcome in 1990, following BA/DPhil degrees at Oxford University and PostDoc at Ben May Institute, University of Chicago. He navigated changes, mergers, and acquisitions through positions of increasing responsibility to become a Scientific Leader and GSK Fellow. Made significant contributions to six development candidates in antivirals, iNOS and Factor Xa, before moving to early-stage discovery (including HTS, fragments and DNA-encoded libraries), whilst developing expertise in Physicochemical Properties. Author/inventor on 100 publications/patents.
Took early retirement from GSK July 2019 - Blue Burgundy launched to pursue drug discovery consulting and educational interests; visiting Professor, University of St Andrews.

Dr Thomas Pillow


Thomas Pillow received his Ph.D from Stanford University in organic chemistry
under the direction of Professor Paul Wender. Upon graduation he moved to Genentech
in 2009 where he is currently a principal scientist in the discovery chemistry department
leading Genentech’s effort on antibody-drug conjugates.


28 June 2021

Opening remarks
Cryo-EM in Fragment-Based Drug Discovery at Astex
Dr Jing Dong, Astex
Free ligand conformation and drug design: a Synergic Approach of NMR & Computational Chemistry
Elisa Moro, Evotec
Reactive fragment screening for ligand identification
Dr Jake Bush, GSK
Chemoproteomic Target and Ligand Discovery in Cells
Dr Chris Parker, Scripps Research Institute
Degrader PROTAC design
Prof Alessio Ciulli, University of Dundee
Closing remarks

29 June 2021

Techniques and tactics for natural innovation in future small molecule drug discovery
Dr Rob Young, Blue Burgundy Ltd
Integrating the Impact of Lipophilicity on Potency and Pharmacokinetic Parameters Enables the Use of Diverse Chemical Space during Small Molecule Drug Optimization
Maria Madeira, MSD
Enabling the in vivo activity of chimeric protein degraders through antibody conjugation
Dr Thomas Pillow, Genentech
COVID Moonshot - crowdsourcing a new antiviral
Dr Frank Von Delft, Oxford University
Panel discussion
Closing remarks


Early bird - Ends 23 May 2021
SCI member  -  £95.00
Non-member - £110.00
Student member- £50.00

After early bird
SCI member - £145.00
Non member - £160.00
Student member - £50.00

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For further information and prices please email conferences@soci.org.

Organising Committee
  • Sam Dalton, MSD
  • Timothy Gorman, Evotec
  • Kiri North, Vertex
  • Adam Yip, Benevolent AI


Conference Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7598 1561

Email: conferences@soci.org