Professor Paul Workman FMedSci FRS
Paul Workman is a multidisciplinary cancer research scientist who has been responsible for the laboratory discovery and progression into the clinic of many innovative cancer drugs. His speciality is designing personalised medicines that are targeted to precise molecular abnormalities and vulnerabilities – an approach he refers to as ‘drugging the cancer genome’. Furthermore, he conceptualized and exemplified in practice a systematic approach known as the ‘Pharmacological Audit Trail’ that uses various measurable biomarkers to aid rational decision-making in drug development.
Paul has also discovered chemical probes (or tools) used to understand the function of suspected cancer-causing proteins and to validate them as therapeutic targets. He has shed light on the mechanism by which many cancer drugs work and how drug resistance can develop – and he is now focusing on novel approaches to overcome the mechanisms involved in the evolution of therapeutic resistance in cancer patients. Paul is probably best known as a molecular pharmacologist and chemical biologist who with colleagues has discovered numerous inhibitors (drugs and chemical probes) of protein and lipid kinases (eg PI3 kinases) as well as molecular chaperones (eg Hsp90).
Paul has built and led several successful teams in academia – where he has been a champion of the non-profit, centre of disease excellence, team science model – and also in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He is now Chief Executive and President of The Institute of Cancer Research in London where he guides strategic developments in the field of basic, translational and clinical cancer research. In addition, Paul talks, writes and blogs about cancer research and treatment and also about the drug discovery ecosystem.
Paul has received a number awards including the American Association of Cancer Research Team Science Award; the Cancer Research UK Translational Cancer Research Prize; the George and Christine Sosnovsky Award and World Entrepreneur Award, both of the Royal Society of Chemistry; and the international Raymond Bourgine Award for excellence in cancer research. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a Cancer Research UK Life Fellow.
Director, Cancer Research UK Centre, Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden
Chief Executive and President, Institute of Cancer Research
Harrap Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Institute of Cancer Research
Interests and expertise