Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre

Neil Carragher

Drug Discovery

Professor Neil Carragher - Professor of Drug Discovery

Research in a Nutshell 

The Edinburgh Drug Discovery group embraces advanced technology platforms and disease models, which drive innovations in oncology drug discovery and development. Our group is highly proficient in image-based phenotypic screening working in close collaboration with several pharmaceutical industry partners and academic groups to identify hit molecules, advance small-molecule lead generation and classify compound mechanism of action (MOA). Our laboratories are equipped with the latest kinetic (IncuCyte Zoom®) and high-content (ImageXpress-micoXLS) screening platforms, fully integrated with plate-handling robotics, barcode sample tracking and image analysis/informatics workflows. We are founding members of the European Cell-Based Assay Interest group (, and together with the Universities of Oxford and Dundee, we are the third major academic hub for the National Phenotypic Screening Centre ( We also incorporate Reverse Phase Protein Array (RPPA) analysis to support biomarker discovery and drug MOA studies at the post-translational pathway level.

The overarching aims of our group are to enhance clinical predictivity of preclinical oncology drug discovery and improve patient stratification and efficacy, by applying an evidence-led translational research platform, incorporating disease relevant models, innovative chemical design, quantitative imaging and genomic/proteomic-discovery-informatics. To achieve these goals we work in close collaboration with local clinicians, multidisciplinary academic research groups and industry partners.


Research Programme

Neil Carragher research group 6.2018



Neil Carragher

Principal Investigator, Professor of Drug Discovery and Director of Edinburgh Cancer Discovery Unit
Richard Elliott Senior Research Fellow
Alison Munro Research Assistant

Kenneth Macleod

Research Assistant

Ashraff Makda

Research Assistant

John Dawson

Post Doc
Becka Hughes Post Doc

Mungo Harvey

PhD Student


PA :


  • AstraZeneca
  • Radius Health Inc.
  • Carrick Therapeutics
  • Eli Lilly
  • Janssen
  • National Phenotypic Screening Centre:
  • European Cell-based Assay Interest group:
  • Global RPPA society:
  • Asier Unciti-Broceta: Innovative Therapeutics Group
  • Steve Pollard Group 
  • Margaret Frame: Cancer Biology Group
  • Val Brunton: Cancer Therapeutics Group

Partners and Funders

  • AstraZeneca
  • Radius Health Inc.
  • Carrick therapeutics
  • Eli Lilly
  • Janssen
  • EPSRC Research Grant (2016) (Unciti-Broceta, Patton, Leung, Carragher) Palladium-activated prodrug therapy: a novel focal therapy for localised cancers of unmet need (5YR): £1,074,212
  • Wellcome Trust ISSF (Jan 2016 –Jan 2017) (Von-Kriegsheim, Carragher and Wills). Drug target deconvolution platform. (1YR): £54,368 + in-kind coallboration with Medimmune
  • Brain Tumour Charity Quest for Cures award (2016) (Pollard Dirks, Brennan, Helin and Carragher). Chromatin proteins as drug targets for glioblastoma. Research funding (5YR): £1,481,356
  • Mechanistically informed Phenotypic Screening to Advance New Therapeutic Treatments for Oesophageal Cancer Patients £104,483

Scientific Themes

Drug Discovery, Phenotypic Screening, Glioma, Esophageal cancer, breast cancer

Technology Expertise

High content imaging, image-analysis, image-informatics, Reverse phase protein array