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Dr Chiara Gorrini

Senior Researcher

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Dr Chiara Gorrini is a Senior Staff Scientist within the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery. She is currently the Lead Biologist of a project exploiting the therapeutic implications of targeted protein degradation using small molecules.  Group: Paediatric Solid Tumour Biology and Therapeutics


Dr Chiara Gorrini is currently a Senior Staff Scientist in the Target Evaluation & Molecular Therapeutics Team within the CRUK Cancer Therapeutic Unit. Dr Gorrini completed her PhD in Italy at the University of Milan, studying the regulation of protein synthesis and its role in malignant transformation. 

After completing her first post-doctoral study at The Institute of Experimental Oncology in Milan on the functions of the oncogene MYC, she moved to Toronto, in Canada, to join the team directed by Prof. Tak Mak at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. In Toronto, she continued working on cancer biology while expanding her knowledge on tumour metabolism, immunology and mouse genetics. 

In 2014, she was awarded with the prestigious Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer grant that paved her path to a career of independent investigator. In 2019, Dr Gorrini joined the CRUK Cancer Therapeutic Unit to contribute to the discovery and development of drugs that will improve cancer patient treatment. 

Research overview

As cancer biologist, Dr Chiara Gorrini’s main role is to design and coordinate project plans aimed at mechanistic understanding, disease positioning and clinical biomarkers of specific small molecule compounds. Small molecule drugs have been widely developed by the pharmaceutical industry as they have some distinct advantages as therapeutics. They can be administered orally and their design and distribution can be tailored to engage biological targets of various modes of action.

In this context, the CRUK Cancer Therapeutic Unit at ICR has greatly contributed to the field as it has generated multiple targeted drug candidates that have been successfully exploited into clinical trials. Among the ongoing drug discovery platforms, Dr Gorrini is actively involved in two emerging areas: the characterization of new therapeutics harnessing protein degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system and the development of novel drugs targeting the APOBEC protein family that is involved in mRNA editing.

With a strong background in breast cancer biology, Dr Gorrini is exploring these strategies for the treatment of two forms of breast cancers, Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and estrogen positive breast cancer. The former is very aggressive and still lacks tailored therapies while the latter commonly develop mechanisms of resistance to standard therapies with limited alternative therapeutic opportunities.