2024 UCB-Ehrlich Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry

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Prof. Stuart Conway

Professor Stuart Conway, the inaugural holder of UCLA’s Michael and Alice Jung Endowed Chair in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery, is the winner of this year’s prestigious UCB-Ehrlich Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry for his groundbreaking work on the development of therapeutically relevant bromodomain inhibitors and the development of pro-drugs that are selectively activated in hypoxia.

Conway’s lab was involved in the development of early BET and CREBBP/P300 bromodomain inhibitors, and these compounds underpin candidates that have been assessed in clinical trials for oncology indications. In collaborative work with Professor Ester Hammond at the University of Oxford, his lab has developed pro-drugs that are selectively activated in hypoxia – conditions of low oxygen that are found in solid tumors. These compounds have the potential to improve the therapeutic window for a number of drug modalities. Conway has also contributed to the global medicinal chemistry community through his work with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society, the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry, and editorial work with the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Prior to joining the UCLA faculty in 2023, Conway was a Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Oxford, and the E. P. Abraham Cephalosporin Fellow in Organic Chemistry at St Hugh’s College, Oxford.  His research team’s interests are at the interface of chemistry and biology and focus on the use of synthetic organic chemistry to enable the study of biological problems. 

The European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC) UCB-Ehrlich Award was established to acknowledge and recognize outstanding research in the field of medicinal chemistry.  The Award is given biennially and consists of a diploma, € 7.500 and an invitation to present a lecture at the EFMC International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (ISMC) in Rome, Italy, in September 2024.

The EFMC is an independent association representing medicinal chemistry societies in Europe. Its objective is to advance the science of medicinal chemistry by promoting cooperation and networking, by providing training and mentoring, by rewarding scientific excellence, and by facilitating communication and influencing stakeholders.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.