ICMS2020 - Advisory Board and Speakers - Sophion

Advisory Board

Professor Annette Dolphin

Annette Dolphin received her BA in Natural Sciences (Biochemistry) from the University of Oxford and her PhD from University of London, Institute of Psychiatry. She then held postdoctoral fellowships at the College de France in Paris, and at Yale University, before returning to the UK to the National Institute for Medical Research, London; followed by a lectureship in the Pharmacology Department of St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London University. She was appointed Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London University in 1990, and moved to University College London in 1997. She is a Professor of Pharmacology in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at UCL. She was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999, and the Royal Society in 2015. She is a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator and held a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship (2016-17).

Professor John Atack

Prof.Atack is currently Sêr Cymru Professor of Translational Drug Discovery and director of the Medicines Discovery Institute(MDI) at CardiffUniversity. The MDI was officially opened in March 2019 and comprises a multidisciplinary team of around 40biologists and chemists. He joined the MDI after spending a 5-year period asDirector of the Sussex Drug Discovery Centre at the University of Sussex in Brighton. During his time in academia, he has helped to raise around £35m of funding for a variety of preclinical neuroscience and oncology drug discovery projects. Prior to his time in academia, Prof. Atackgainedextensive (>20 years) experience in neuroscience drug discovery at the Merck Sharp & Dohme Neuroscience Research Centre in Harlow, UK (1989-2006) and then (2006-2012) with Janssen Pharmaceutical, where he was head of Neuroscience Biology initially in San Diego and thereafter in Beerse, Belgium. He has worked on enzyme, ion channel(particularly GABAA receptors)and GPCR targets that cover a range of CNS disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment and addiction. He has over 160 publications and a proven track record of leading projects all the way from Target Identification/Target Validation through to clinical development and Phase 2a Proof-of-Concept and has been a major contributor for 15 compounds that have entered development of which 8 have progressed into clinical studies. Prof. Atack obtained a PhD from the department of pathology at the Newcastle upon Tyne General Hospital studying the cholinergic system in Alzheimer’s disease. Thereafter, he spent a further 5 years studying the neurochemical pathology of Alzheimer’s disease in the National Institute on Aging at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland before commencing his drug discovery career with Merck.

Professor Fredrik Elinder

PhD in Neurophysiology from Karolinska Institutet. Professor of Molecular Neurobiology at Linköping University since 2004. Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Linköping University since 2012. My scientific work has focused on the understanding of the mechanisms to open and close voltage-gated ion channels and how to modulate these mechanisms.




Professor Bernard Attali

Bernard Attali was educated in France and graduated in Physical Chemistry and received a Pharm.D from Paul Sabatier University (Toulouse). After immigrating to Israel, he received a PhD in Neurobiology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Bernard Attali is Full Professor at the Sackler Medical School in Tel Aviv University, where his research aims at elucidating the structural, biophysical and physiological attributes of potassium channels. Bernard Attali contributed to the characterization of Kv7 potassium channels, whose mutations in humans lead to cardiac arrhythmias, epilepsy or autism disorders. More recently, he showed that SK4 Ca2+-activated K+ channels are involved in the cardiac pacemaker activity and represent new targets for cardiac arrhythmias. He also showed that M-current inhibition in hippocampal neurons triggers intrinsic and synaptic homeostasis plasticity. He has published so far more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed international journals.


Professor David Andersson

David Andersson is a senior lecturer (Associate Professor) in physiology at King’s College London. His research is focused on sensory neuron biology, with an emphasis on sensory transduction mechanisms and on the pathophysiological mechanisms of chronic pain. He completed his PhD at the University of Lund in 2001 and thereafter worked in the Novartis Institute of Medical Sciences and at University College London before moving to King’s in 2006, where he was awarded the first KCL/London Law Trust Medal Fellowship. Current projects are focused on the basic physiology of TRP channels, diabetic and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, and translational studies of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and fibromyalgia.


Professor Morris Brown

Morris Brown is Professor of Endocrine Hypertension at the William Harvey Research Institute of Barts and the London, Queen Mary University London, and formerly the foundation Professor of Clinical Pharmacology in the University of Cambridge. His current interest is the translation of molecular mechanisms in Primary Aldosteronism, leading to non-invasive techniques (PET CT, endoscopic ablation) for the cure of hypertension. The discovery of somatic mutations of CACNA1D in aldosterone-producing adrenal adenomas led, via a GSK Fast-track award, to hits which are now under development as selective Cav1.3 inhibitors. Awards include the Lilly Gold Medal of the British Pharmacological Society (2002), the Walter Somerville Medal of the British Cardiac Society (2006), the RCP/Lancet award (2016), and International Society of Hypertension’s Robert Tigerstedt Lifetime Achievement award in 2018.


Professor Emilio Carbone

Emilio Carbone received his degree in Physics from Genova University in 1971. He was visiting fellow for two years at the National Institute of Mental Health, Laboratory of Neurobiology in Bethesda (MD, USA)and post-doc for two years at the Department of Physics in Genova (Italy). In 1976, he became Researcher at the National Council of Research(CNR), Institute of Cybernetics and Biophysics in Camogli (Genova) and then moved as Staff Researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psychiatry, Department of Neurophysiology in Martinsried,(Germany). In 1985, he became full Professor and was appointed chair of physiology at the School of Pharmacy of Torino University in 1986. He is presently Contract Professor at the Department of Drug Science in Torino. EC contributed to the discovery of T-type calcium channels and cell-signalling pathways that regulate electrical signals in brain neurons and neuroendocrine cells. His recent work at the Dept. of Drug Science in Torino has turned toward understanding the molecular mechanisms associated with voltage-gated calcium channelopathies responsible for several human Rare Diseases. EC also contributed to the development of new diamond-based micro-arrays for detecting neurotransmitter molecules and electrical signals in neurons and neurosecretory cells. EC is author of 170papers on international journals, reviews and reference work on voltage-gated ion channels. He is elected member of the Academia Europaea, Section of “Physiology & Medicine” from 2006 and Executive Editor of the Pflügers Archive European Journal of Physiology. Presently, EC is president of the Nanostructured Interphases and Surfaces Research Center.


Professor Iain Greenwood

Iain Greenwood obtained a PhD in smooth muscle Physiology & Pharmacology from Manchester University studying the functional effects of ATP-sensitive potassium channel activators (eg pinacidil, levcromakalim). After defending his thesis he moved to a post-doctoral position at St George’s University, London to work on calcium-activated chloride channels. In 1998 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship. During his fellowship, Iain spent 4 months working at the Montreal Heart Institute and all of 2001 in Reno Nevada. Whilst in Reno, Iain working with Burt Horowitz identified KCNQ channels expression in vascular smooth muscle cells and since returning has been at the vanguard of research that has established these channels as major regulators of smooth muscle contractility in many arteries and non-vascular tissues (uterus, bladder, colon, penis). His research group are currently focused on deciphering the myriad of mechanisms that control KCNQ-encoded channel activity. He is currently the Professor of Vascular Pharmacology at St George’s and he also holds an associate position at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He has contributed to nearly every degree course at St George’s and is one of the co-instigators of the UK’s first undergraduate Clinical Pharmacology degree here at St George’s.



Professor Rajesh Khanna

Dr Rajesh Khanna, Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, is an expert in ion channel biology and voltage-gated calcium and sodium channels regulated by novel protein interaction. With almost 100 publications, Dr Khanna’s ground-breaking research focuses on disrupting pathological protein-protein interactions with biologics and small molecules, testing their activity, examining protein interaction signatures, and regulating protein networks to modulate ion channel activity in neurodegenerative diseases (chronic pain, migraine, and neurofibromatosis).

Most recently Dr Khanna’s lab has leveraged these pain network data discoveries to understand the mechanism of sodium and calcium channel trafficking by the CRMP2/NaV1.7 and CRMP2/CaV2.2 complex, the basis for the patented Regulonix technology platforms.

Dr Khanna earned his PhD in Physiology from the University of Toronto, where he also obtained his MS in Pharmacology and a BS in Toxicology. Prior to joining the University of Arizona, he conducted post-doctoral fellowships at UCLA in Physiology and Molecular Biology, and at the Toronto Western Research Institute in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Additionally, he has received grant support from the NIH (NINDS, NIDA, NCI, and NCCIH), the US Department of Defense, and the Children’s Tumor Foundation for his laboratory’s work, is a member of the Society of Neuroscience, American Society for Pain and the American Society for Neurochemistry and is a grant reviewer for several leading organizations worldwide. In 2020, Dr Khanna was elected as Sr. Member of the National Academy of Inventors.


Professor Hiroshi Kuba

Hiroshi Kuba is a professor of Cell Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University. He graduated from Kyushu University, Faculty of Medicine in 1997 and had clinical training of neurosurgery for two years. After completing a PhD course in Harunori Ohmori’s lab in Kyoto University in 2003, he continued research as an academic staff in Kyoto University (2003-2011) and a visiting fellow of Larry Trussell’s lab in Oregon Health Science University (2009-2010) and got the present position in 2011. He has worked on mechanisms underlying formation and operation of brainstem auditory circuits that are involved in sound localization, particularly focusing on ion channels, such as Kv1.1, Kv3.1, and Nav1.6. He is now interested in axon initial segment plasticity, neuro-glial interaction, and differentiation of neurons during development. He is addressing these issues by integrating multiple techniques, such as patch clamp recording, two-photon imaging, and computer simulation.


Dr Ian Mellor

Ian Mellor is a Lecturer in Molecular Neuroscience in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham, UK. He obtained a first degree in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Loughborough University, UK, in 1986, followed by a PhD in Biophysics at the University of Nottingham in 1993. His research initially focused on peptides of natural or synthetic origin that form pores in membranes before moving on to study the structure and function of nervous system ion channels using natural and synthetic toxins that interact with them to alter their conducting properties. Major projects have included studies of polyamine-containing toxins found in solitary wasps and spiders that antagonise ionotropic receptors; the actions of pyrethroid insecticides on susceptible and resistant voltage-gated sodium channels; multi-target ligands for neurodegenerative disease; and more recently the identification of ion channel ligands from ladybird haemolymph and centipede venom. His research mainly employs electrophysiological techniques including patch-clamp and two-electrode voltage-clamp of cell lines, primary cultures and ion channel expression systems, particularly Xenopus oocytes.


Professor Ruth Murrell-Lagnado

Ruth is an Associate Professor in Pharmacology and Neuroscience within the School of Life Sciences at Sussex. She has devoted her research career to understanding the structure, function and cell biology of ion channels and in recent years has worked predominantly on P2X-purinergic receptors, a family of ATP-gated cation channels that play a critical role in immune cell signalling and are implicated in many pathologies including chronic pain, inflammation and cancer. Ruth studied Pharmacology at University College London and subsequently moved to Cambridge to pursue a PhD in the Physiological Laboratory. She continued her training as a post-doctoral fellow, first at Oxford University and then at Stanford University in California with Richard Aldrich, investigating the structure and function of voltage-gated potassium channels. She returned to the UK to a Lectureship in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge and continued her work on ion channel regulation, making a major contribution to our understanding of the assembly and subcellular targeting of different members of the P2X channel family. In particular, she identified a novel role for P2X4 as a lysosomal calcium channel.  Ruth joined Sussex in 2015 and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Physiology and the Journal of General Physiology.


Dr Nina Storey

Nina Storey received her BSc (Hons)in Biochemistry from the University of Edinburgh. She gained her PhD from University College London and the Novartis Pain Institute where she began her interest in ion channel physiology, studying the regulation of sodium channels of dorsal root ganglion neurones. She then held a visiting fellowship at the National Institute of Health at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina USA where her research focussed on the regulation of potassium channels of pituitary neuroendocrine cells. Her second postdoctoral research fellowship was at the University of Leicester with Professor Nick Standen focusing on potassium channels of cardiac muscle and their role in stress tolerance. She is now an associate professor of Physiology and Pharmacology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at University of Leicester.


Professor Jörg Striessnig

Jörg Striessnig received his M.D. from the University of Innsbruck, Austria. After postdoctoral fellowships at the Department of Biochemical Pharmacology at the University of Innsbruck and a 2-year visiting professorship at the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) he became Associate Professor and in 2001 Full Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology (Institute of Pharmacy) at the University of Innsbruck. He was elected as corresponding member to the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and as a member to the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Academia Europaea. He holds an active diploma as M.D. with specialization in Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Since more than 30 years his major research focus is on the function, regulation and molecular pharmacology of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, in particular dihydropyridine-sensitive L-type Ca2+ channels. More recently, he explores the pathophysiological role of human de novo mutations causing rare L-type Ca2+ channelopathies and the potential to treat these diseases with Ca2+ channel blockers. For his research, the Austrian Science Fund has continuously funded him since 1997.


Professor David Wyllie

David is the Director of the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and also holds a Principal Investigator position in the Centre for Brain Development and Repair at the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore, India. He studied for his B.Sc in Pharmacology at the University of Glasgow, moving to UCL for his PhD studies on ionotropic glutamate receptors and glutamate transporters expressed in cerebellar neurons and glia. Following post-doctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco, he returned to UCL supported by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. In 1999he moved to the University of Edinburgh. David has a long-standing interest in structure-function relationships of ionotropic glutamate receptors and specifically how subtype-dependent biophysical and pharmacological properties, together with identified disease-causing mutations in these receptors, contribute to their physiological and pathophysiological roles in the CNS. The other major focus of his lab is to use rodent and pluripotent stem cell-derived models to study dysfunctional signalling present in monogenic neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. David is currently a Senior Editor of The Journal of Physiology.