Sarah is an organic chemist by training, conducting her PhD with Professor J C Anderson at the University of Nottingham before undertaking postdoctoral studies with Professor P A Wender at Stanford University as a visiting Fulbright Scholar. Sarah began her industrial career as a medicinal chemist at Pfizer, UK and has subsequently taken on roles at Convergence and Vertex. She is an active member of the UK Chemistry community, with a long-standing interest in teaching and enabling the next generation of scientists. Sarah is currently the head of the MSD UK Chemistry at MSD’s London Discovery Centre.
Since joining the pharmaceutical industry as a drug discovery scientist, Sarah has championed the use of technology and computational methods to accelerate the rate at which new medicines get to market, particularly in the Design, Make, Test, Analyse (DMTA) phase of drug discovery. Sarah has taken a leading role in delivering integrated, computationally enabled, molecular design and analysis workflows in the organisations she has worked within, enabling teams to realise step changes in efficiency, innovation and data-driven decision making. Sarah also champions the use of AI/ML methods to drive molecular design, ensuring molecules with the highest probability of success are selected for synthesis.
Sarah recognises the central importance of synthetic chemistry in drug discovery and has led initiatives to expand chemical space in design and championed the democratisation of high-throughput experimentation and automation technologies. She has delivered multiple drug discovery courses for students throughout the UK/EU and shared her experiences of life in pharma with a view to inspiring and educating early stage career scientists.