1992 …2022

Research output per year

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Personal profile


The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) within the College of Life Sciences at Dundee has been created to respond to our perceived lack of capacity in the UK for early stage drug discovery in the academic sector. The DDU’s aim is to translate basic science into lead compounds to validate putative drug targets, to use as tools to investigate disease pathways and, when appropriate, advance to pre-clinical drug candidates. The DDU works to Biotech style philosophy and standards incorporating; dynamic, goal driven project management based on Target Product Profiles and Compound Selection Criteria. The DDU is the only fully operational and integrated drug discovery team within UK universities with the full range of disciplines including compound management, screening, molecular pharmacology/enzymology, medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry, DMPK and disease model capabilities, required to produce novel hit and lead candidates.

Since its inception the Unit has developed an international reputation as a leader in the growing academic drug discovery sector.

As Head of Biology within the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU),my role is to develop strategies for people, facilities, equipment and IT to allow the effective support of hit discovery, hits to leads and lead optimisation programs.

We currently support two broad areas, these being neglected diseases (malaria, leishmania, sleeping sickness, TB and Chagas’ disease) and innovative targets; a portfolio to translate new biological findings from Dundee and beyond.  We conduct assay development, small molecule screening and an extensive array of mechanism of action and other supporting biology to define and characterise small molecule tools suitable for use in primary biological research and drug discovery.



Course coordinator BS32003 – Drug Discovery & Development
BS42004 – Advanced Modern Drug Discovery
M.Res Cancer Biology

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of London

Award Date: 1 Jan 1992

Bachelor of Science, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1988


  • RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
  • drug discovery

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Research Output

  • Discovery of an Allosteric Binding Site in Kinetoplastid Methionyl-tRNA Synthetase

    Torrie, L. S., Robinson, D. A., Thomas, M. G., Hobrath, J. V., Shepherd, S. M., Post, J. M., Ko, E. J., Ferreira, R. A., Mackenzie, C. J., Wrobel, K., Edwards, D. P., Gilbert, I. H., Gray, D. W., Fairlamb, A. H. & De Rycker, M., 8 May 2020, In : ACS Infectious Diseases. 6, 5, p. 1044-1057 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Open Access
  • 74 Downloads (Pure)

    Identification of GSK3186899/DDD853651 as a Preclinical Development Candidate for the Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis

    Thomas, M. G., De Rycker, M., Ajakane, M., Albrecht, S., Álvarez-Pedraglio, A. I., Boesche, M., Brand, S., Campbell, L., Cantizani-Perez, J., Cleghorn, L. A. T., Copley, R. C. B., Crouch, S. D., Daugan, A., Drewes, G., Ferrer, S., Ghidelli-Disse, S., Gonzalez, S., Gresham, S. L., Hill, A. P., Hindley, S. J. & 32 others, Lowe, R. M., MacKenzie, C. J., MacLean, L., Manthri, S., Martin, F., Miguel-Siles, J., Nguyen, V. L., Norval, S., Osuna-Cabello, M., Woodland, A., Patterson, S., Pena, I., Quesada-Campos, M. T., Reid, I. H., Revill, C., Riley, J., Ruiz-Gomez, J. R., Shishikura, Y., Simeons, F. R. C., Smith, A., Smith, V. C., Spinks, D., Stojanovski, L., Thomas, J., Thompson, S., Underwood, T., Gray, D. W., Fiandor, J. M., Gilbert, I. H., Wyatt, P. G., Read, K. D. & Miles, T. J., 14 Feb 2019, In : Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 62, 3, p. 1180-1202 23 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 4 Citations (Scopus)
    18 Downloads (Pure)

    Identification of inhibitors of an unconventional Trypanosoma brucei kinetochore kinase

    Torrie, L., Zuccotto, F., Robinson, D., Gray, D., Gilbert, I. & De Rycker, M., 31 May 2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 5, p. 1-16 16 p., e0217828.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 91 Downloads (Pure)


    • 8 Other
    • 2 Invited talk
    • 1 Membership of panel
    • 1 Public engagement and outreach - public lecture/debate/seminar

    Discovery Days 2020

    Miratul Muqit (Speaker), , Kim Dale (Speaker), , David Gray (Speaker), & Senga Robertson-Albertyn (Speaker)

    9 Jan 202010 Jan 2020

    Activity: Other activity typesPublic engagement and outreach - public lecture/debate/seminar

    Action Medical Research - Scientific Advisory Panel

    David Gray (Member)

    2019 → …

    Activity: Other activity typesOther

    Global Antimicrobial Resistance Investment Fund (GAMRIF) panel

    David Gray (Member)


    Activity: Other activity typesOther

    Member of MRC/AZ Centre for Lead Discovery (CLD)

    David Gray (Member)

    Jan 2017 → …

    Activity: Other activity typesOther

    Dundee Drug Discovery Unit, Diversity screening for tropical diseases

    David Gray (Speaker)

    Jul 2014

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


    Early-stage drug discovery of HIV-1 frameshifting modulators

    Author: Fernandes, A. B., 2015

    Supervisor: Gray, D. (Supervisor) & Wilson, S. (External person) (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy