Dario Alessi is a biochemist whose research focuses on protein kinases — enzymes that chemically modify other proteins by adding phosphate groups. Dario discovered PDK1, the master kinase implicated in the development of several types of cancer, including melanoma. He is currently examining phosphorylation-mediated signalling pathways as part of long-term efforts to more effectively treat conditions such as cancer, neurodegenerative movement disorders and hypertension.
By understanding how these pathways are organised and recognise signals, and how signals move down the pathway to elicit a response, Dario is expanding our understanding of what goes wrong in human disease. In 2012, he assumed the directorship of the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee, where he is engaged in the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy Collaboration together with six major pharmaceutical companies.
Dario has contributed to over 200 papers, and is one of the most highly cited biochemists in the world. His many awards and honours include the 2002 Philip Leverhulme Award and the European Molecular Biology Organisation’s Gold Medal in 2005.
Director, MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, University of Dundee