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Please join us for the third meeting of the

Christ’s College Life Sciences Network

Thursday 2nd November 6-9pm

Yusuf Hamied Theatre, Christ’s College, Cambridge


Welcome to the Christ’s College Life Sciences Network! We aim to connect alumni, graduate and postgraduate students (of any subject) and the broader College community who are interested in the field, an area of huge activity and tremendous breakthroughs over the last decade.


We are delighted to be joined by three fabulous speakers:

Holly Giles, PhD (2014), Postdoc in Computational Biology at the Milner Therapeutics Institute: Big Data in Biology

Sally Curran (1996), Vice President & Global Head, Pharma Patents, GSK: Truths and Myths about Patents

Prof Alessio Ciulli (2002), Professor of Chemical Structural Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee; Founder & Director, Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation; Founder, Amphista Therapeutics: Academia and Entrepreneurship: Amphista and Dundee’s CeTPD


Please join us for an evening of networking and light refreshments. We look forward to seeing you there!


Booking for this event has now closed.


Susan Hill, Jim Warwick, & Alexandra Rowlands



holly giles


Holly Giles (2014)

I am a postdoc in computational biology at the Milner Therapeutics Institute in Cambridge. My postdoctoral research aims to identify new drug targets in lung disease, by integrating sequencing data from clinical samples and in vitro clinical models.

In parallel to my research, I am also heading-up a committee to organise the monthly Cambridge AI Club for Biomedicine. The AI Club is a new initiative to bring together the machine learning community in Cambridge, to discuss common themes and explore different topics within bioinformatics.

I undertook my PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg with Dr Wolfgang Huber. My PhD work sought to investigate the role that the tumour microenvironment plays in drug resistance in leukaemia, using computational methods. During my PhD, I also participated in the Merck Biopharma Innovation Cup, building a proposal for a new platform to rapidly generate anti-viral drugs in the event of a pandemic. I spent some time consulting for Merck, supporting the company in developing this proposal. Before my PhD, I obtained my BA in Natural Sciences from Christ’s College.

During my time as an undergraduate, I was Co-President of the Lady Margaret Society, which aimed to celebrate women at Christ’s, both past and present, and Co-President of the Cambridge University Scientific Society.

Holly Giles is a Bye-Fellow of Christ's College.

sally curran


Sally Curran (1996) 

I am currently Global Head of Pharma Patents at GSK having joined in 2023 to lead prosecution and defence of GSK’s pharma patent portfolio.  After reading Natural Sciences (Chemistry) at Christ’s I started my career as a patent attorney with private practice roles in London and Oxford.  I moved to industry in 2010, joining the AstraZeneca IP department at Alderley Park in Cheshire.  AZ’s move to Cambridge allowed me to return to the city with my family in 2015 while I worked in a number of different areas across the company.  Highlights included leading on IP aspects of AZ’s Open Innovation strategy including supporting the ground-breaking MRC/AZ “Mechanisms of Disease” collaboration.  I also headed up the IP function for Respiratory & Immunology and led the Cambridge IP team through the covid pandemic.  I then moved to Cambridge-based biotech Bicycle Therapeutics for a period, working in the fascinating area of targeted drug conjugates, before moving to GSK at the beginning of the year.  


alessio ciulli


Alessio Ciulli (2002) 

Alessio Ciulli studied chemistry in Florence, Italy, and obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 2006. After postdoctoral research in Cambridge and at Yale University, USA, he returned to Cambridge in 2009 to start his independent laboratory. In 2013, he moved to the University of Dundee, UK, where he was promoted to full professor in 2016. He has received numerous prizes and awards, including most recently the Prous Institute – Overton and Meyer Award for New Technologies in Drug Discovery. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is the scientific founder of Amphista therapeutics, a targeted protein degradation company spin out of his laboratory, and the founder of Dundee’s new Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation which he directs and opened in January 2023. 

Alessio Ciulli is one of the pioneers of using molecular information on protein-protein interactions and protein degradation to discover novel therapeutics. In cancer, one such drug target is the E3 ubiquitin ligase VHL, which can be hijacked by PROTACs (PROteolysis-Targeting Chimeras) to guide proteins to the proteasome to be destroyed. Ciulli solved the structure of VHL bound to fragments of its natural substrate and analysed it to design and synthesize novel small molecule inhibitors of VHL. He tethered one of these to another small molecule inhibitor of his design targeting BRD4, a protein frequently deregulated in leukemia. The resulting PROTAC bridges BRD4 with VHL and removes BRD4 from leukemic cells. Solving the structure of the ternary bridging complex, he unravelled how the PROTAC induces selective degradation. With his approach, he has developed novel small molecules for hard to target proteins and shown how to rationally improve PROTACs. 



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