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Special Issue: Functional Genomics for Target Identification


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The July SLAS Discovery Special Issue on Functional Genomics for Target Identification features 10 articles focused on three strategic pillars – translatable models, screening libraries and technologies and computational pipeline and data analytics – that form the foundation of the functional genomics discipline. Special issue editors Davide Gianni, Ph.D., (AstraZeneca, U.K.) and Stuart Farrow, Ph.D., CRUK Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories, (CRUK-TDL) (U.K.) selected articles that span a variety of relevant topics, from the development of more translatable models of diseases to the creation of validated screening libraries, technologies and computational pipelines to perturb gene function and enable quantitative interpretation of screening outputs.

Functional genomics screens allow us to systematically perturb large numbers of genes or proteins, revealing cellular phenotypes that enable one to infer gene function. It is clear that functional genomics holds great promise not only for the dissection of molecular mechanisms of human diseases but also to reduce the very high attrition rate in the drug discovery process. The long-term success of functional genomics platforms in addressing these challenges will be driven by advancements in these three strategic pillars that are the cornerstones of the functional genomics discipline and the key focus areas in this special issue.

Gianni is responsible for leading a department comprising three teams of scientists to deliver new therapeutic opportunities for AstraZeneca’s (AZ) therapy areas of interest. Gianni joined AZ from Boehringer-Ingelheim in 2015 where, acting as a research laboratory head, he led a team of scientists aimed at identifying and validating novel target opportunities for oncology. Earlier in his career, he conducted his postdoctoral studies at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla (California) where he focused his research activities on deciphering the contribution of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mechanisms underlying human diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration and cardiovascular disease. Gianni has authored more than 20 publications and is an active reviewer for SLAS Discovery. He has been recognized multiple times in his career for his strong scientific contributions to advance biomedical research (2009 Young Scholar Award from the Alzheimer’s Association San Diego, the 2013 Boehringer-Ingelheim Award for the discovery of innovative drugs for cancer patients and the 2020 SLAS Discovery Reviewer Excellence Award).

Farrow joined CRUK-TDL (then CRT Discovery Labs) in April 2015 and has spent more than 20 years in drug discovery and leadership roles in the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, he was based at the University of Manchester, where he directed the establishment of the Manchester Centre for Collaborative Research in Inflammation (MCCIR), a £15M initiative funded by GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and the University of Manchester. He is currently a member of the Medical Research Council Infection and Immunity Board. Farrow has worked in several therapeutic areas, including autoimmune, inflammation and respiratory and has directed major translational research initiatives in apoptosis, immunology and circadian biology. He has led discovery teams that have generated several clinical candidate molecules and has overseen biology programs for drugs that have achieved regulatory approval and launch. Stuart obtained his undergraduate degree in chemistry and a postgraduate degree in biological chemistry from the University of Birmingham. He completed his postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Research Institute in Tokyo.


Davide Gianni

Stuart Farrow


Other SLAS Publications

Shaw J., Dale I., Hemsley P., et al. Positioning High-Throughput CETSA in Early Drug Discovery through Screening against B-Raf and PARP1. SLAS Discov. 2019 Feb; 24(2): 121-132.

SLAS publishes two PubMed:MEDLINE-indexed journals and accepts manuscripts on an ongoing basis from members and non-members.  > READ MORE

June 22, 2020