School of Chemistry

Staff Profile

Dr Celine Cano

Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry



I studied Organic Chemistry at the University of Poitiers (France) and in 1999, went to Paris as a predoctoral fellow to work on asymmetric synthesis of substituted piperazines from phenylglycinol derivatives, under the supervision of Prof. H.-P. Husson. In 2000, I moved back to Poitiers, where I worked on the synthesis of biomolecules by 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions with carbohydrates and received my Ph.D. degree in 2004. I then joined the group of Prof. John A. Joule at the University of Manchester, U.K. as a postdoctoral fellow and worked on the synthesis of analogues of cofactors of oxomolybdoenzymes. In 2005, I joined the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University, as a research associate and worked on the synthesis of inhibitors of the DNA-dependent protein kinase. Since my appointement as a lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry in 2008, I have been working on the development of small molecule kinase inhibitors within the Drug Discovery and Imaging group.


MSc Organic Chemistry - Poitiers, France
PhD Organic Chemistry - Poitiers, France

Previous Positions

2005 - Research associate in the group of Professor John A. Joule - The University of Manchester, UK - "Synthesis of Analogues of Cofactors of Oxomolybdoenzymes".

2005-2007 - Research Associate - Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK - "Synthesis of Inhibitors of DNA-Dependent Protein Kinase".


Member of the British Association for Cancer Research; Member of the European Association for Cancer Research


Source - Cancer Research UK, CR UK Centre Award (July 2009 – June 2012), Annual direct costs - £2M – Co-applicant

Source - Cancer Research, CR UK Drug Discovery programme (October 2007 – September 2012), Annual direct costs - £1M – Co-Applicant

Source - Cancer Research UK, Medicinal Chemistry Training Programme (October 2006-September 2014), Annual direct costs - £1.4M – Co-Applicant

Source - KuDOS/AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Development of DNA PK inhibitors (January 2008 – December 2012), Annual direct costs - £160,000 – Co-applicant

Source - EPSRC, PhD Studentship, Medicinal Chemistry (October 2009-September 2012), Annual direct costs - £13,290 maintenance grant (2009-2010); £13,590 (2010-2011) – PI

Source – MRC Doctoral Training Account, PhD Studentship (October 2011-September 2014), Annual direct costs - £13,290 maintenance grant (2009-2010); £13,590 (2010-2011) – Co-applicant



Research Interests

My research interest is in the development of small molecule kinase inhibitors. 

Within our Drug Discovery and Imaging Research Group, five targets are currently being exploited:

  • ERK5 kinase – in collaboration with Professor Hing Leung, Beatson Institute Glasgow, Dr Simon Cook (Babraham Institute, Cambridge) and Cancer Research Technology
  • DNA dependent protein kinase – in collaboration with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
  • MDM2/p53and  MDMX/p53 
  • NEK2 kinase – in collaboration with Dr Andrew Fry, Leicester University, and the Institute of Cancer Research, London



Undergraduate Teaching

Member of the Teaching and Training Committee within the Northern Institute for Cancer Research.

Teaching conducted within the School of Chemistry (Undergraduate Programmes in Chemistry and Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry):

Stage 2: 

- Module leader of CHY2103 Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design  

Stage 3:

- CHY3103 Chemotherapy

- CHY3109 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry

- CHY3001 Advanced Practical Course in Medicinal Chemistry  

Stage 4:

- CHY8421 Methods in Drug Discovery

- CHY8821 Methods in Drug Discovery

- CHY8823 Theory and Practice of Chemotherapy    

Participated in the PARTNERS Scheme each summer over the last 4 years.