Scientific Advisory Board

Guy Hembury, Deputy Director at the University of Portsmouth

Dr Guy Hembury is currently Deputy Director (Commercialisation and External Partnerships) within Research & Innovation Services at the University of Portsmouth, UK. He has the lead role across the University for commercialisation of research and innovation activity, developing strategies and mechanisms to increase commercial and academic returns. Working with faculties to develop strategic activities and build the partnerships with external organisations to create mutual value.

Guy is also active in science policy and politics. He is Vice-President and Council member of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee (the UK’s first All Party Parliamentary Group), providing long-term liaison between Parliament, scientific bodies, industry and academia on key issues of science and policy. Additionally, he is a member of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee, which comprises senior representatives of the UK’s national professional scientific bodies (academic and industrial) and Parliamentary organisations, and explores and develops joint thinking and responses to key science-impacting policy issues.

Prior to his current positions, Guy’s career has over 20-years of multi-perspective university sector experience: research, teaching, enterprise, student recruitment, professional services and senior management – internally and as an external industry partner. Working at and with organisations globally, bringing together academics, professional services and senior management staff to partner with funders, business and Government to develop and deliver strategic and major projects, programmes and change agendas.

Nick Lynch, CTO of Open PHACTS

Nick has over 20 years experience in Informatics and was at AstraZeneca for 13 years leading teams in R&D Informatics, working especially on global integration projects within pre-clinical & early clinical research, externalisation & data exchange for the AZ R&D activities. Became involved in various pre-competitive activities and a co-founder of Pistoia Alliance as well supporting the initial Open PHACTS project from early business case definitions, eTriks and EBI industry programme.

Established Curlew Research in 2014 working on a number of projects with Pharma/Biotech and Life Science informatics companies. Nick is also the CTO of Open PHACTS, a semantic data and services platform for pre-clinical data.

Delighted to be part of the BioExcel SAB and to support the project and its sustainability

Zara Sands, Principal Scientist, UCB BioPharma

After graduating from Manchester University with a 1st class BSc Hons degree in Chemistry Zara Sands embarked upon a PhD in the Cancer Research School, at Nottingham University where she successfully completed her doctoral training in Computational Medicinal Chemistry. In 2003 she took a Welcome Trust Fellowship position at the University of Oxford and under the direction of Prof. Mark Sansom developed an expertise in membrane protein (MP) structural biology & biophysics. In 2006 Zara joined AstraZeneca where she applied and developed cutting edge in silico technologies for studying challenging CNS targets. In 2009, she was recruited by UCB BioPharma to support and strengthen their CNS drug discovery pipeline through the application and development of in silico technologies towards membrane protein targets. She has been instrumental in developing UCB BioPharma’s MP drug discovery capabilities and through the judicious application of computational approaches has been able to successfully drive UCB’s GPCR drug discovery projects towards clinical candidates. She is engaged in numerous collaborations with world leading MP (computational) structural biology researchers – with the aim of developing and applying state of the art science to address membrane protein drug discovery/design challenges.

Marc Baaden, Group Leader CNRS/IBPC
Dr. Marc Baaden is internationally recognized for research on membrane proteins via high performance computing, comprising the development of novel bioinformatics methods offered to the scientific community. A physical chemist by training, he oriented his research towards biological systems and phenomena at membranes and interfaces. Water and ion transport play a particular role in these computational studies that are always connected to experimental and clinical biomedical research.
Research Group website

Mark Forster, Group Leader STFC Daresbury laboratory

Dr. Mark Forster gained his Ph.D in NMR spectroscopy from the University of London. His early research focused on NMR and computational studies of organometallic and biological macromolecules. A key highlight was the first elucidation of the solution state structure of heparin, which later proved to be consistent with several independent crystal structure studies. Mark has experience a of commercial scientific software environment from his time working in the USA. From 2001 to 2016 Mark held a number of roles at Syngenta, a world leading agri-business. These spanned a range from plant biotechnology, to chemical informatics, structure elucidation, compound logistics and structure databases, as well as external relations and supplier management. Mark plays an active role in the scientific open source community, with both code contributions, publishing, and organising conferences. He was awarded a ‘blue obelisk’ in 2016 for his work in this community. In terms of project and research infrastructure engagement Mark has served as chair of the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) for Elixir, as well as chair of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for the OpenPHACTS project. From 2016 onwards Mark has worked in the field of scientific computing at the STFC Daresbury laboratory in NW England

Peter Coveney, Honorary Professor in Computer Science at University College London
Prof. Peter V. Coveney holds a chair in Physical Chemistry and is an Honorary Professor in Computer Science at University College London (UCL). He is also a Professor Adjunct at Yale University School of Medicine (USA). He is Director of the Centre for Computational Science (CCS) and of the Computational Life and Medical Sciences Network (CLMS) at UCL. Coveney is active in a broad area of interdisciplinary research including condensed matter physics and chemistry, materials science, as well as life and medical sciences in all of which high performance computing plays a major role. Coveney chairs the UK Collaborative Computational Projects Steering Panel and has served on programme committees of many conferences, including the 2002 Nobel Symposium on Self-Organisation; he was Chair of the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2008, and of the Discrete Simulation of Fluid Dynamics conference 2003. He has published more than 350 scientific papers and co-authored two best-selling books (The Arrow of Time and Frontiers of Complexity, both with Roger Highfield) and is lead author of the first textbook on Computational Biomedicine (Oxford University Press, 2014). Coveney is a founding member of the UK Government’s E-Initiative Leadership Council and a Medical Academy Nominated Expert to the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology on Data, Algorithms and Modelling which has led to the creation of the London based Turing Institute. He is also a member of the London Centre for the Theory and Simulation of Materials, The Thomas Young Centre. He is also the coordinator of the CompBioMed Center of Excellnce.