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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Simon Mackay is the Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science at the University of Strathclyde and has 25 years’ experience of research and teaching in the application of medicinal chemistry to drug discovery. He is a graduate of the University of Bath (BPharm (Hons); 1984) and the University of Manchester (PhD Medicinal Chemistry; 1990). In terms of research, his primary interest is cancer drug discovery, and he is the Principal Investigator for a £3.0M CRUK-funded programme to identify small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of prostate cancer (http://myprojects.cancerresearchuk.org/projects/prostate-cancer), which involves leading and co-ordinating a multidisciplinary team including medicinal chemists, phytochemists, biochemists, pharmacologists and clinicians. This programme has recently been funded by Prostate Cancer UK and MRC.  He is also involved in a kinesin drug discovery project with collaborators at UCL to identify new Eg5 inhibitors.   He has led the medicinal chemistry team for a number of industry-funded drug discovery projects, including the identification of non-steroidal neuroprotective compounds for Hunter-Fleming, PTP1B inhibitors for Kyorin Pharmaceutical and the £9.3M drug discovery programme targeting the Ubiquitin Proteasome System, funded by Scottish Enterprise.

He is a co-founder of SMSdrug.net (http://www.smsdrug.net), an EPSRC-BBSRC- MRC initiative to establish an academia-Users Network in Chemical Biology to initiate, establish and nurture collaborative projects for the advancement of the drug discovery process. This links with the Drug Discovery Portal (DDP http://www.ddp.strath.ac.uk/), which is a major strategic initiative in international research and knowledge-exchange at the University of Strathclyde that brings together the rich, but currently isolated resources in drug research in academic institutions worldwide and provides an accessible central resource to allow chemists and biologists to boost their current drug discovery research efforts.

Over the past 5 years, he has attracted over £4.8M of external funding on drug discovery projects.

In addition to being a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, he is on the Expert Advisory Panel for Pharmaceutical Science and the Translational Biology Directorate of the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance. He is the external examiner for degree programmes in drug discovery and phamacy at the University of Edinburgh and Robert Gordons University. He is a member of the Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy Panel for the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Bachelor of Pharmacy, University of Bath

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Simon MacKay is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2005 2021

Research Output 2001 2019

Is the fate of clinical candidate Arry-520 already sealed? Predicting resistance in Eg5-inhibitor complexes

Indorato, R-L., Talapatra, S. K., Lin, F., Haider, S., MacKay, S. P., Kozielski, F. & Skoufias, D. A., 31 Dec 2019, In : Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 18, 12, p. 2394-2406 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Binding Sites
Allosteric Site
Molecular Dynamics Simulation
Multiple Myeloma
2 Citations (Scopus)

Topographical mapping of isoform-selectivity determinants for J-channel-binding inhibitors of sphingosine kinases 1 and 2

Adams, D. R., Tawati, S., Berretta, G., Rivas, P. L., Baiget, J., Jiang, Z., Alsfouk, A., MacKay, S. P., Pyne, N. J. & Pyne, S., 11 Apr 2019, In : Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 62, 7, p. 3658-3676 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Protein Isoforms


Building a rational model for the identification of allosteric sites

Author: Chevalier Indey, C., 1 Oct 2015

Supervisor: Tomkinson, N. (Supervisor) & MacKay, S. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of sphingosine kinase inhibitors for the treatment of prostate cancer

Author: Tawati, S. M. A., 1 Dec 2015

Supervisor: MacKay, S. (Supervisor) & Pyne, N. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Activities 2008 2015

  • 5 Membership of committee
  • 3 Key-note speaker and plenary lectures at conferences
  • 2 Participation in conference
  • 2 Examination

Prostate Cancer UK (External organisation)

Simon MacKay (Member)
1 Oct 201530 Sep 2018

Activity: Membership typesMembership of committee

REF (External organisation)

Simon MacKay (Member)
1 Jan 201431 Dec 2014

Activity: Membership typesMembership of committee


MGB Biopharma licensed to treat deadly infections

Colin Suckling (Participant), Iain Hunter (Participant), Alan Harvey (Participant), Simon MacKay (Participant), Curtis G. Gemmell (Participant)

Impact: Impact - for External PortalEconomic and commerce, Health and welfare - new products, guidelines and services