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Professor Sir Pete Downes OBE FRSE FMedSci

Job Title
Principal & Vice-Chancellor
Principal's Office
University of Dundee
Year elected



the roles of inositol phospholipids and their metabolites as intracellular signals responding to extracellular stimuli

Section committee elected by

Physics, chemistry, biochemistry, structural biology, mathematics, informatics and engineering applied to biomedicine

Peter Downes has done pioneering work over thirty years, playing a leading role in establishing the widespread biological significance of the inositol glycerophospholipids and their metabolites. This body of work has provided new insights into common diseases and to the discovery of new drugs with the potential to treat many forms of cancer and inflammatory disease. His analysis of lithium’s effects on inositol phosphate metabolism with Berridge led to their inositol depletion hypothesis of lithium action in manic depression. He then ucovered the unexpectedly complex metabolism of InsP3 and introduced novel methods that underpin the current understanding of inositol polyphosphates and their diverse roles in cell biology. His current main focus is on the roles of PI 3-kinases in cancer following his discovery, with Tonks, that the tumour suppressor functions of PTEN require its lipid phosphatase activity first reported by Dixon and colleagues. He has worked with colleagues in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for almost twenty years to accelerate the development of lipid kinase inhibitors as therapeutic agents, a task that is only now reaching fruition in the form of selective inhibitors of PI 3-kinases in clinical trials for cancer.

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