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Professor Laurence Pearl

Head of Division and Group Leader

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Professor Pearl seeks to understand the structural basis for assembly, specificity and regulation of the multi-protein complexes involved in the recognition, repair and signalling of DNA damage, and in the chaperone-mediated stabilisation and activation of cellular signalling pathways. These basic studies provide the means for discovery and development of novel small-molecule inhibitors with application as drugs for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Group: Vannini Group Group: Macromolecular Structural Biology
+442071535420 ORCID 0000-0002-6910-1809

Professor Laurence Pearl is Head of the Division of Structural Biology at the ICR and also Professor of Structural Biology in the Genome Damage and Stability Centre at the University of Sussex.

He read Biochemistry at University College London (UCL) and then obtained MSc and PhD degrees in the Department of Crystallography at Birkbeck College, for structural studies of aspratyl proteinases under the supervision of Sir Tom Blundell.

Following Postdoctoral research positions at Birkbeck College and the ICR in Sutton, Surrey, he returned to UCL as Lecturer in Biochemistry in 1989, becoming Reader and then Professor of Structural Biology in 1996.

In 1999 he rejoined the ICR to chair the new Division of Structural Biology (jointly with David Barford) at the Chester Beatty Laboratories in Chelsea.

In 2009 he was appointed Head of the new School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex, relocating his laboratory to the MRC Genome Damage and Stability Centre, where he holds the position of Professor of Structural Biology. Under his leadership, Sussex rose to rank 10th overall in the UK for Biological Sciences, and 8th for research outputs in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), placing it on par with Cambridge and ahead of the majority of Russell Group Universities.

He stepped down as Head of School after eight years in the role, and is now fully focused on research, combining roles at ICR and Sussex.

His research focuses on understanding the structural basis of the recognition, repair and signaling of DNA damage and the function of molecular chaperones, and translating this basic research for the discovery of new drugs for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) and an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and the Academia Europeae. In 2011 he was the recipient of an Inaugral Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award and in 2013 shared the CR-UK Translational Cancer Research Prize with Paul Workman.

He is a founder and the Chief Scientific Officer of Domainex Ltd, a contract research company that was named UK Bio-entrepreneurial Company of the Year by the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) in 2007. He was awarded the 2018 Novartis Medal and Prize by The Biochemical Society.