What is a Medicinal Chemist?

Every one of us has been touched by disease or illness, be it a loved one suffering from cancer or friend being diagnosed with diabetes. The need for new, more effective and safe medicines has never been greater. As a medicinal chemist working for GlaxoSmithKline I am at the forefront of the invention of new drugs, drawing together different disciplines such as synthetic chemistry, biology, toxicology and many others in the search for new treatments.

Every day is different

Everyday I face the challenge of designing new molecules, analysing and learning from data generated in biological assays, and problem solving new synthetic routes to a desired target compound. Achieving a great result with a compound I have designed is an immense buzz, but it is closely matched by the success of members of my team, as to succeed in drug discovery teamwork is essential.

My career journey

My path into medicinal chemistry started when I took a degree in chemistry, due to its unique position at the interface of both the physical and biological sciences offering a gateway into many different disciplines. Having enjoyed organic chemistry, I specialised by studying for a PhD, gaining vital practical skills and knowledge which would aid me greatly in my job allowing me to work to the best of my capabilities.

In the future

Everyday I go to work I think today could be the day I make a molecule which could save someone’s life, so they can do more, feel better and live longer!

Dr. Dale Johnson, Neurosciences CEDD, GSK