University of Dundee

Drug Discovery Award for Alessio Ciulli

17 May 2022

Professor Alessio Ciulli has been awarded a European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology Awards 2022. He has been named the winner of the 2022 Prous Institute - Overton and Meyer Award for New Technologies in Drug Discovery. This award has been in recognition of his “pioneering work in the field of proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC) technology for drug-induced targeted protein degradation.

The "Prous Institute-Overton and Meyer Award for New Technologies in Drug Discovery" was established to encourage innovation and investigation in technologies related to drug discovery. The Award is given biennially to recognize outstanding contributions to the development of new technologies in the fields of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology, and acknowledges the awardee’s contribution to the discovery, evaluation or use of innovative technologies that advance the field. The award consists of a diploma, € 7.500 and an invitation to present a lecture at the XXVII European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology – International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC), being held in Nice during September 4-8, 2022.

Alessio and his research group have pioneered activities in the targeted protein degradation field and its application in the discovery of novel bioactive compounds. Specifically, they have made substantial contributions to the development of new ligands of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) E3 ligase, in particular bivalent small-molecule dimerisers of the VHL E3 ubiquitin ligase (VHL-based PROTACs) and elucidated the structural and biophysical basis of their mechanism of action. Notably, Alessio Ciulli’s research provided a rational basis for the design and optimisation of the next generation of targeted protein degradation systems.

On winning the award, Alessio said: “I am honoured to be the recipient of this award. The Prous Institute-Overton and Meyer Award is one of the most prestigious prizes in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology, and I feel humbled to join a list of past awardees who are scientists I deeply respect. This recognition is significant as it is the culmination of the innovative work my research group has contributed over the past 13 years. I am extremely grateful for the dedication and brilliance of all the outstanding people I have been fortunate to train, mentor and work with within our group, and of our collaborators from all around the world. This prize should also be seen as a reflection of the quality of the research done at Dundee, and the discoveries recognized by this award were truly enabled by the supportive and collegiate environment that our School and University offer. It is exciting times with the imminent opening of our new Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD), and hopefully this will inspire more innovative discoveries as we continue to work together to unlock the many opportunities and address the key challenges in the field.”

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