School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Celine Cano

Reader in Medicinal Chemistry



Celine Cano studied Organic Chemistry at the University of Poitiers (France) where she received her Ph.D. degree in 2004 for her research on the synthesis of biomolecules by 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions with carbohydrates. In 2004, she carried out post-doctoral work in the group of Professor John A. Joule at the University of Manchester working on the synthesis of analogues of cofactors of oxomolybdoenzymes. In November 2005 she joined the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University as a research associate, working along Professors Roger Griffin and Bernard Golding on the synthesis of inhibitors of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK). She was appointed to a lectureship in Medicinal Chemistry at Newcastle University in 2008 and has since played a key role in helping to establish Newcastle as an internationally recognised centre for anti-cancer drug discovery. Celine was awarded the Elsevier Reaxys 2016 Prize for Medicinal Chemistry in recognition of her research into anticancer drug discovery. She is the academic lead for the Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology Group within the School of Chemistry.


  • 2000-2004 University of Poitiers University (France) – PhD in Organic Chemistry
  • 1999-2000  University of Poitiers (France) – MSc in Organic Chemistry
  • 1995-1998  University of Poitiers (France) – BSc Chemistry

Previous Positions

  • 2013-2017 Senior Lecturer, School of Chemistry, Northern Institute of Cancer Research, Newcastle University
  • 2008-2013 Lecturer, Northern Institute of Cancer Research, Newcastle University
  • 2005-2007 Research Fellow, Northern Institute of Cancer Research, Newcastle University
  • 2004-2005 Research Associate, Chemistry Department, The University of Manchester


Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the British Association for Cancer Research and the European Association for Cancer Research


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



I am actively involved in innovative and research-led teaching at the forefront of my field, i.e. drug design, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. My contribution includes lecture courses at stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the BSc and MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry Degree programmes and the MSc programme in Drug Chemistry.

Stage 1 

  • CHY1101 Organic Chemistry Tutorials

Stage 2

  • Module leader of CHY2103 Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design

Stage 3

  • CHY3109 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry - Chemical Biology
  • CHY3109 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry - Chemotherapy
  • CHY3110 Chemotherapy - Chemical Biology
  • CHY3110 Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy
  • CHY3109 Advanced Course in Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHY3011 Research Literature projects

Stage 4

  • CHY8821 Methods in Drug Discovery
  • CHY8823 Theory and Practice of Chemotherapy
  • CHY8411 MChem lab placement

Teaching Administration

  • Module leader for 3 modules as part of our Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry BSc and MChem Honours degrees (CHY2103, CHY3109 and CHY3110)
  • Module leader for 1 module as part of our Drug Chemistry MSc (CHY8823)
  • Member of the Northern Institute for Cancer Research Teaching and Training Committee (2009-present)
  • Member of the School of Chemistry Teaching and Training Committee (2014-2016)
  • Member of the Board of Studies and the Board of Examiners within the School of Chemistry
  • Member of the MsC Board of Studies and the MsC Board of Examiners within the School of Chemistry