Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy

Staff Profile

Dr Celine Cano

Reader in Medicinal Chemistry



Celine Cano is a Reader in Medicinal Chemistry at Newcastle University. She graduated from the University of Poitiers, receiving her Ph.D. in 2004 for her work 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 2005 she joined the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University as a research fellow, working on the synthesis of inhibitors of the 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 Natural and Environmental Sciences.


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

Area of Expertise

Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology


  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Member of the British Association for Cancer Research and the European Association for Cancer Research.

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2032-2272;    Google Scolar;    Scopus Author iD: 24480527500 


The medicinal chemistry team (C Cano, IR Hardcastle, M Waring) is part of the Drug Discovery Group within the Newcastle Centre for Cancer. Working closely with basic cancer biologists, structural biologists, pharmacologists, imaging specialists, and clinical scientists, the overall aim of the programme is to discover novel small-molecule inhibitors of cancer targets which can be developed into new treatments for cancer patients.

Current Funding and Collaborations: 

  • 2018-2020       MRC DPFS Drug discovery award.  Lead PIs, S. Wedge (Pharmacology), C. Cano (Chemistry), M.E.M. Noble and J.A. Endicott (Structural Biology) 
  • 2015-2020       CRUK Programme Grant. Lead PIs, S. Wedge, M. Waring, M.E.M. Noble, J.A. Endicott, I. Hardcastle, and C. Cano, “The Cancer Research UK Programme for Drug Discovery at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University”
  • 2012-2017       Astex Strategic Drug Discovery Alliance (Astex Pharmaceuticals, Newcastle University and CRT) Lead PIs (Newcastle): C. Cano, J.A. Endicott, R.J. Griffin, I.R. Hardcastle, R. Maxwell, M. Waring, M.E.M. Noble and S. Wedge


Stage 1 

  • CHY1101 Organic Chemistry Tutorials

Stage 2

  • Module leader of CHY2103 Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design

Stage 3

  • CHY3109/CHY3110 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry (Semester 1) - Chemical Biology
  • CHY3109/CHY3110 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry (Semester 2) - Chemotherapy
  • CHY3109 Advanced Laboratory 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 MSc in Drug Chemistry (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)