Science & Inspiration

In 2012, Jean-Paul Renaud, the co-founder of NovAliX, noticed that the medicinal chemistry conferences that he attended did not include many sessions on biophysics.

At this time, the use of biophysical techniques in drug discovery was increasing rapidly, and many pharmaceutical companies were setting up in-house biophysical platforms to accelerate the development of drug candidates. Close communication between biophysicists and medicinal chemists, therefore, became essential.

This provided an opportunity for NovAliX to create a unique event that would bring together the medicinal chemistry and biophysics communities, and to gather the industrial and academic biophysics communities into a framework supported by NovAliX.

1st NovAliX Virtual Conference

The 1st virtual edition of the NovAliX Conference “Biophysics in Drug Discovery” took place last October 28th.

Read bellow our conclusions and remarks:

Large audience at a dynamic first virtual NovAliX Conference “Biophysics in Drug Discovery”

The next NovAliX conferences will again be virtual events, with a first one in March and another one scheduled for participants from the Asia – Pacific area in November.

See you virtually at the next NovAliX Conference !

5th edition. Strasbourg, France 2017
Prof. Jean-Pierre CHANGEUX
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Prof. Jean-Pierre CHANGEUX

Jean-Pierre Changeux PhD is International Faculty at the Kavli Institute for Brain & Mind University of California San Diego and professor at the Collège de France & Institut Pasteur, Paris. His PhD studies with Jacques Monod, led to the discovery that chemical signals regulate the biological activity of proteins by acting at “allosteric” sites distinct from the biologically active sites via a conformational change (1961-1965). He then proposed (1964) that this type of regulation applies to receptor mechanisms engaged in the transmission of chemical signals in the nervous system and through his life-time work, validated this insight. His studies were initiated by the first identification of a neurotransmitter receptor: the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor together with Lee & Kasai (1970) and culminated by a contribution, together with Corringer & Delarue, to establishing the 3-D structure and conformational transition of prokaryotic orthologs of nicotinic receptors by X-ray crystallography and molecular dynamics (2005-15). He and his colleagues also deciphered the topology of allosteric modulatory sites for pharmacological ligands (1996-2011), thereby substantiating a novel strategy of drug design based on allosteric modulation. Moving to neuronal networks, Changeux, together with Courrège & Danchin (1973, 1976) formulated and experimentally tested the theory that long-term epigenesis of neuronal networks occurs by the activity-dependant selective stabilization, and elimination, of developing synapses. Last, in particular with Dehaene, he proposed and tested models for defined cognitive tasks and their pharmacological modulation in particular, a neuronal hypothesis for conscious processing, implicating a “global neuronal workspace” composed of a brain-scale horizontal network of long axon neurons (1991- (1998-2015).
Changeux has published several books including Neuronal Man (1985), What Makes Us Think? (with Paul Ricoeur) (2002), Physiology of truth (2002).
His academic accolades include the Gairdner award (1978), the Wolf prize (1983), the Goodman and Gilman Award in drug receptor pharmacology (1994), the Balzan Prize (2001), the US National Academy of Sciences Award in Neurosciences (2007), the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Award for Eminent Scientists,Tokyo (2012) and the Olav Thon Foundation’s International Research Award for. Mathematics/ Natural Sciences and Medicine, Oslo (2016).

7th Edition. Kyoto, Japan 2019
Prof. Alessio CIULLI
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Prof. Alessio CIULLI

Alessio Ciulli holds the Personal Chair of Chemical and Structural Biology at the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. His research interests are in chemical biology, structural biology and drug discovery of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) within the chromatin and ubiquitin-proteasome systems. Of particular interest are the development and application of small molecules approaches for inducing protein degradation, and chemical genetics and fragment based drug design approaches to target protein surfaces and PPIs.

Alessio graduated in Chemistry (2002) from his hometown Florence under the late Ivano Bertini and obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge (Chemistry, 2006), studying as a Gates Cambridge Scholar under the supervision of Chris Abell and in collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals. Following post-doctoral research on fragment-based drug design with Chris Abell and Tom Blundell, and an HFSP visiting Fellowship at Yale University to begin collaboration with Craig Crews (2009), he was awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship and returned to Cambridge to start his independent career in 2010. In 2013 Alessio was awarded an ERC Starting Grant and moved his laboratory to the School of Life Sciences at Dundee to take up a Readership and Principal Investigator role within the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery. He was promoted to Professor in October 2016. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Alessio is the recipient of several prizes and awards, including:

– 2014 Talented Young Italian award
– 2015 EFMC Prize for Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia
– 2015 ICBS Young Chemical Biologist Award
– 2016 RSC Capps Green Zomaya Award in medicinal computational chemistry
– 2016 MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship.

5th edition. Boston, United States 2018
Prof. Martin KARPLUS
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Prof. Martin KARPLUS

Present Positions:
Theodore William Richards Research Professor, Harvard University, l999-2004 T. W. Richards Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Harvard University, 2004-present Professeur Conventionné, Université Louis Pasteur (now Université de Strasbourg), Strasbourg, 1995-present

Education:
Harvard College, B.A., 1950
California Institute of Technology, Ph.D., 1953 (with Linus Pauling)
Oxford University, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1953-55 (with C.A. Coulson)

Professional Career:
National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Oxford University, 1953-55
Instructor 1955-57, Assistant Professor 1957-60, Associate Professor 1960, University of Illinois
Associate Professor 1960-63, Professor 1963-66, Columbia University
Professor, Harvard University, 1966-1979
Professeur Associé, Université de Paris-Sud, 1972-73
Professeur, Université de Paris VII, 1974-75
Theodore William Richards Professor of Chemistry, Harvard University, l979-1999
Professeur Associé, Université de Paris-Sud, 1980-81
Professeur, Collège de France, Paris, 1980-81, 1987-88
Professeur Associé, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, 1992, 1994-95
Eastman Professor, Oxford University, 1999-2000
Linnett Visiting Professor, Cambridge University, Fall 2003

Honors & Awards:
Antonio Feltrinelli International Prize for Chemistry from Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 2011
Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2013
Foreign Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2013
Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur, 2014
Doctor Honoris Causa, Bar-Ilan University, 2014

Memberships:
American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 1966
National Academy of Sciences, 1967
International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, 1967
Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences (foreign member), 1991
The Royal Society, U.K. (foreign member), 2000
Foreign Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2013

Research Field:
The research of Dr. Karplus is in theoretical chemistry, including the electronic interpretation of NMR and ESR spectra of molecules, the development of techniques for the evaluation of molecular properties, and the formulation of detailed models for chemical reactions. His recent work is concerned with molecules that play an important role in living systems.

1st edition. Strasbourg, France 2013
Prof. Sir Tom BLUNDELL
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Prof. Sir Tom BLUNDELL

Sir Tom Blundell FRS, FMedSci University of Cambridge 1. Research interests in the molecular architecture of living organisms have been focused on molecular and structural biology of growth factors, receptor activation, signal transduction and DNA repair, important in cancer and other diseases. Tom Blundell has characterised the roles of multiprotein assemblies in achieving high signal-to-noise in cell regulatory and signalling systems. He also has developed extensive software, pioneering knowledge-based approaches for structural bioinformatics that are used worldwide in academia and in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. He has developed new approaches to exploring biological and chemical space for target selection and lead discovery in the development of candidate drugs. He has published over 500 research papers, including 30 in Nature and Science. 2. Academic 1964 BA in Natural Sciences; 1967 D.Phil. Oxford University; 1973 Lecturer, Biological Sciences, Sussex University; 1976-1996 Professor of Crystallography, Birkbeck College, London; 1991-96 Chief Executive Officer, AFRC; Founding CEO, BBSRC; 1996 – 2009 William Dunn Professor and Head of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge; 2003- 2009 Head, School of Biological Sciences, Cambridge; 2009-2016, Director of Research; Emeritus Professor Biochemistry, Cambridge; 2. Honours 1984 FRS; 1985 Member of EMBO; 1986 Alcon Award; 1987 Gold Medal, Institute Biotechnology; 1987 Krebs Medal, FEBS; 1988 Ciba Medal, Biochemical Society; 1988 Feldberg Prize in Biology and Medicine; 1993 Member Academia Europaea; 1995 Fellow, Indian National Science Academy; 1996 Gold Medal, Society for Chemical Industry; 1997 Knighthood; 1998 First Recipient, Pfizer European Prize for Innovation; 1998 Bernal Medal, Royal Society; 1999 Founding Member, Academy of Medical Sciences; 2005-2008 President UK Biosciences Federation; 2006 Hon Memb, British Biophysical Society; 2006 Honorary Fellow Royal Society Chemistry; 2008 Foreign Member, Third World Academy of Sciences; 2008 Ramachandran Professor, IISc Bangalore; 2009-2011 President, Biochemical Society; Honorary Fellow. 2011 Foreign Member Chilean Academy of Sciences. 2011 President, UK Science Council; 2012 Honorary Fellow, Society of Biology 3. Industry: companies founded, boards etc Astex Therapeutics: Co-founder, 1999, Board Member, Chair SAB 1999-2011; Biofabrika: Co-founder, 1989 – 1991; Celltech: Non-executive Director, 1996-2004; Chair SAB, 1998- 2004; UCB Celltech, Science Advisory Board, 2005; SmithKline Beecham: International R&D Board, 1997-1999; Pfizer: Consultant in UK and USA, 1983-1990; Parke Davis: US Consultant, 1987-1990; Abingworth Management Ltd, Science Advisory Board, 1986-1990, 1996-; Syntaxin: member of SAB; FEI: SAB 2007-2010; Isogenica, Scientific Consultant, 2008 – 4. Public Bodies: Research Councils: AFRC Council (1985-1990); DG, (1991-1994); BBSRC Founding CEO, BBSRC, 1994-1996. Non-executive Chairman of BBSRC: 2009 – Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, Chairman (1998-2005); Advisory Council on Science and Technology (ACOST) Cabinet Office (1988-1990).

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