In the world of drug discovery and scientific innovation, every success story is a testament to the individuals whose passion, expertise, and dedication drive research forward. To provide you with an inside look into the minds shaping our journey here at Excellerate, we’re excited to kick off our “Meet the Team” series, offering a glimpse into the professional journeys, unique perspectives, and the passions that fuel their contributions to the world of drug discovery.
In our latest instalment we introduce Dr Benjamin Moore. Ben is one of the Principal Scientists at Excellerate and has a focus on cellular pharmacology and assay development within the early-stage drug discovery pipeline.
“Share a brief overview of your professional background and experience in the research/drug discovery industry:”
“As part of my undergraduate Medical Sciences degree at University of Leeds, I undertook an industrial year within the GSK ‘Screening and Compound Profiling’ dept (now ‘Screening, Profiling and Mechanistic Biology’) at their Stevenage R&D hub. I was tasked with running a variety of screening assays across several different technology platforms as part of their Enhanced Cross-screen Panel (eXP) and completed an investigatory project on a family of acid-sensing GPCRs. On the academic research front prior to starting my PhD, I was lucky enough to be awarded a two-year Laidlaw UGRL Scholarship, where I worked within the Cardiovascular Research Centre under Prof Arun Holden on the development of the human foetal heart anatomy through gestation. I returned to pharmacology focused research during my PhD at CeBioR where our work led to the identification of a previously unknown inhibitory role of a therapeutic asthma drug as an exciting opportunity for repurposing in neuropathic pain treatment – these findings were followed up with in vivo studies by another research lab in Japan last summer, confirming the results in NP rodent models.”
“What initially attracted you to join Excellerate?”
“I had aspirations after my placement at GSK to eventually get back into an industrial-focused research role within pharmacology and assay development. The opportunity at Excellerate came along following completion of my PhD and after discussing the long term goals with Nick and Viral to set up a CRO with leading expertise in pharmacology innovation and translation to preclinical drug discovery, it perfectly aligned with my professional ambitions and made it an ideal fit.”
“What excites you the most about working at Excellerate/within drug discovery research?”
“The diversity of the studies I get involved in, both on the scientific and operational front. It’s really rewarding to have a leading responsibility on client projects across multiple disease areas with the potential to have contributed towards a future therapeutic. I also enjoy both having a client facing role collaborating with key individuals pushing these studies forward, and am fortunate to be working with an exceptional team here at Excellerate that have an eagerness and desire to dive into the science and produce the best quality research.”
“What’s one significant achievement or contribution you’ve made during your time here?”
“Having a key role in supporting the growth of Excellerate since joining in 2020; we have more than tripled in size, expanded our platform capabilities both in techniques we offer and areas of expertise, and recently moved to a new site at NG2 Business Park.”
“What do you think sets Excellerate apart from others in the industry?”
“The pride we take in the quality of our work. We have established an extremely collaborative network of support and feedback that starts from the top down with world class support from our CSO and our industrial/academic contacts that feeds through to our junior scientists. This ensures our experimental planning and data reporting are rigorously assessed to best support our client projects.”
“Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work? Tell us about them!”
“I’m a very active person and enjoy the gym, running and a wide range of sports. I have been scuba diving with, and on the club committee of the BSAC18 branch since 2014 (the UK water can be quite cold and murky, but we occasionally dive abroad too…), and have aspirations to become an instructor in the next couple of years. I also really love travelling (37 countries and counting) to experience new cultures, food, and people.”
“What’s your favourite science-related book, movie, or podcast? Why do you recommend it?”
“I frequently watch science/education related videos from creators such as Veritasium and Tom Scott – these tend to blend really engaging content and explanations to make scientific concepts accessible (and cool!)”.
“What’s your favourite quote that motivates you in both your personal and professional life?”
“I know that I know nothing” from Plato’s account of the Greek philosopher Socrates – a daily reminder that scientific research throws up unexpected surprises and to maintain an open and adaptable mindset to new ideas and findings. Outcomes often diverge from our initial expectations.”
“What advice would you give to young scientists looking to enter the drug discovery research field?”
“I would highly recommend taking an industrial placement year during your Undergraduate studies if possible. This invaluable opportunity not only exposes you to the dynamics of scientific research within an industrial lab setting, but also aids in making an informed decision about pursuing a career in the field. Additionally, it serves as an excellent initial step into the realm of networking!”
“If you could make one bold prediction about the future of scientific research, what would it be?”
“A new era in neuroscience and psychiatric medicine in treatment of mental health conditions; research being performed at various institutions worldwide are unveiling the therapeutical benefits of substances once stigmatised. Prof David Nutt released a fascinating new book this summer “Psychedelics: The revolutionary drugs that could change your life” offering a comprehensive overview of current studies and going into details of research he is spearheading at Imperial College London.”
To learn more about how the team at Excellerate Bioscience can support your drug discovery program, please get in touch here.