Dr. Nicholas Cosford is Professor and Director of Translational Research within the Sanford Burnham Prebys NCI Designated Cancer Center. As a medicinal chemist with > 20 years’ experience leading small-molecule drug discovery and hit-to-lead optimization projects, he worked in both biotech and big pharma prior to joining SBP in 2005. At Sibia Neurosciences and at Merck Research Laboratories, he directed multidisciplinary research teams focused on small-molecule hit-to-lead optimization and was responsible for moving several lead compounds through to the clinical phase. Examples include taking a nicotinic receptor agonist from initiation of research through to Phase II clinical; taking mGlu5 negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) from HTS hits through in vivo proof-of-concept to Phase I/II (ongoing); design, synthesis and optimization of an mGlu5 PET tracer clinical candidate; and design, synthesis and optimization of an Akt allosteric inhibitor preclinical candidate that led to MK2206. To date Dr. Cosford’s research has resulted in more than 90 peer reviewed scientific publications, > 40 issued patents, and > 40 additional patent applications pending. In 2006 he received the FRAXA Research Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Fragile X Research. Dr. Cosford’s laboratory at SBP engages in chemical biology to investigate important problems in cancer, neuroscience, and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDs. Areas of interest include the discovery of small molecules that modulate pathways regulating autophagy, apoptosis, metabolic pathways, neuroprotective/neuropsychiatric signaling and protein folding. Currently a main focus of Dr. Cosford’s research is the development of new medicines to treat advanced prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.