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Our Team


University of Oxford

Cassandra Adams Translational Scientist, CMD
Paul Brennan PI, Medicinal Chemistry, CMD
Charlotte Deane PI, Department of Statistics
Brian Marsden PI, Research Informatics, CMD
Alejo Nevado-Holgado PI, Department of Psychiatry
Cornelia van Duijn PI, Nuffield Dept of Population Health
Benoit Hastoy Scientific Director and PI, Diabetes UK Lawrence Fellow, OCDEM
Gamma Chi Senior Scientist, CMD
Karen Froud Programme Manager, CMD
Brittany Ulm PDRA, Bioinformatics, Department of Psychiatry
Christopher Fage PDRA, Structural Biology, CMD
Michael Miller PDRA, Structural Biology, CMD
Upamanyu Ghose RA, Bioinformatics, Department of Psychiatry


King Abdulaziz University

Dr Ashwag Albukhari
Dr Amer Asseri
Dr Aliaa Amr Alamoudi
Dr Rami Mosaoa


DPhil students

Sihao Xiao Work Package 2
Kholod Alhasani Work Package 2
Hadeel Abozenadah Work Package 4
Jana Malki Work Package 3a
Yeal Ben Gigi Work Package 5
Amelia Henley Work Package 4

Our Workflow

WP1: Clinical landscape in KSA

Lead: Dr Amer Asseri

Key Activities: Collecting and sequencing genetic samples from the KSA population for the Centre’s selected disease areas for use in target identification and drug design.

Milestone: Identification of KSA-specific drug targets

WP2: Artificial Intelligence in novel target discovery

Leads: Prof Alejo Nevado-Holgado and Prof Cornelia van Duijn

Key Activities: Apply AI to genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic profiles of KSA patients to nominate targets. Validate targets with EHRs epidemiology

Milestone: Development of Neural Network methods to process genetic data, identification and validation of novel drug targets

WP3: Target biological characterisation

Leads: Prof Gamma Chi (3a), Dr Benoit Hastoy (3b) and Dr Emma Mead (3c)

Key Activities: Investigation of pathways and mechanisms of identified genetic driver of disease using biochemical, structural and cellular approaches. WP3b and WP3c specialising in specific disease areas.

Milestone: Characterisation of biology of novel targets and creation of assays

WP4: Drug design and discovery

Lead: Prof Paul Brennan

Key Activities: Chemical tool compound design to be guided by pharmacophoric information, computational chemistry and knowledge of metabolic liabilities.

Milestone: Identification of potential binding locations

WP5: AI methodology for drug design

Lead: Prof. Brian Marsden and Prof. Charlotte Deane

Key Activities: Utilizing machine learning, structural bioinformatics and artificial intelligence, plus natural language processing (NLP) holds the promise of highly optimised and efficient novel drug design

Target Milestone: AI-led optimisation of novel drug design