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Fellows Directory

Laurence Pearl

Professor Laurence Pearl FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2008


Laurence Pearl is a structural biologist who has used X-ray crystallography and other techniques to reveal the size, shape and composition of molecules vital to life. Taking cues from these structures to understand their function, he has worked on the design of potential drugs for diseases including cancer.

His early breakthrough was the discovery that an HIV enzyme could be a target for AIDS therapy. Laurence has since focused on large, complex molecules that play a variety of essential housekeeping roles: repairing damaged DNA; passing on intracellular signals; or acting as ‘molecular chaperones’ in the formation of other protein complexes.

Laurence’s work on the molecular interactions of the chaperone Hsp90 has led to new anti-tumour agents that block this protein from activating cancer-causing proteins. He continues his academic work in parallel with his role in the drug discovery company he founded, and as the Head of the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex. In 2013, he shared the Cancer Research UK Translational Cancer Research Prize.

Professional positions

Chief Scientific Officer, Domainex
Head of the School of Life Sciences, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Cancer drug discovery, DNA damage signalling, DNA repair, Drug discovery, Macromolecular crystallography, molecular chaperones, Signal transduction