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Enabling Technologies

Our overall aims with enabling technologies are to improve the drug discovery process at any stage. This can include technologies that aid the reduction of attrition rates, improving the clinical predictability of drugs and increasing high throughput screening efficiencies.
Stem Cells

Lead academics: Professor Steve Davies, Dr Angela Russell

Using chemistry to harness the power of stem cells for healthcare and regenerative medicine

There are strong collaborations with members of The Oxford Stem Cell Institute and The British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, Prof William James and Dr Sally Cowley (Sir William Dunn School of Pathology), Prof Roger Patient (Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine), Prof Paul Riley, Dr Francis Szele, Dr Richard Wade-Martins, Dr Zam Cader and Dr Matthew Wood (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics), Prof Robert MacLaren (Department of Ophthalmology), Dr Suzanne Watt and Dr Lee Carpenter (NHS Blood and Transplant) and Prof Len Seymour and Dr Eric O'Neill (Department of Oncology).

The use of small molecules to control cell fate is an emerging discipline which offers unprecedented advantages over other techniques in terms of greatly reduced costs, scalability and the ability to control cell fate reversibly at will. One of the potentially most powerful applications of using small molecules to direct stem cell fate would be the ability to manipulate these cells in vivo. There are enormous advantages to having the capability to safely proliferate and specify the fate of a patient’s own endogenous stem cells solely through administering a drug, thereby precluding the need for cell therapies. We are designing and screening small molecules that can manipulate a stem cells fate in vivo.
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Many diseases are currently characterised through inadequate animal based models, so generation of human tissues for compound testing has the potential to revolutionise the drug discovery platforms that are currently adopted, reducing pressure on animal testing. Our laboratories are striving to discover small molecules to generate large numbers of therapeutically relevant cells in a reproducible, efficient and economically viable manner.