Dundee Stars

Tim Haystead

Tim, who worked in Philip Cohen's lab as a scientific officer from 1983-1985 and then carried out his PhD at Dundee with Grahame Hardie, has sold Serenex, the company he founded, to Pfizer for several hundred million US dollars.

Tim formed Serenex in 2000 to exploit new drug discovery technology he developed (called proteome mining) that enables new drug candidates to be identified in large combinatorial libraries. The selected candidates are then progressed to Phase 1 clinical trials through directed iterative chemistry. Unlike traditional methods of screening drug targets, proteome mining uses a reverse screen whereby 'druggable' compounds are used to identify biologically relevant targets, and by design, corresponding drug candidates. The technology was validated by the rapid discovery of an active anti cancer agent (SNX5422), which targets HSP90 and began Phase 1 clinical trials in June 2007. Several such trials are underway and one is nearing completion with a favourable toxicity profile in humans. The first Phase 2 trial for non-small cell lung cancer is scheduled to begin in late 2008 and will be coordinated by the US National Cancer Institute. The technology platform that was the basis for Serenex has been improved and is now being developed to discover novel antibiotics to which bacteria cannot develop drug resistance. To do this, Tim has set up a Not-for-Profit organisation, the Institute for Global Disease Mechanisms, into which some of the proceeds of the sale of Serenex will be put.

After leaving Dundee in 1988, Tim carried out postdoctoral work with Edwin Krebs at the University of Washington, Seattle before becoming an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1991. He joined the Pharmacology Department at Duke University as an Associate Professor in 1996 being promoted to Full Professor in 2000. From 2000-2008 he was also the Chief Scientific Officer and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Serenex. Tim published seven first authored papers during this period, including one describing the effects of the tumour promoter okadaic acid on intracellular protein phosphorylation and metabolism (Haystead et al (1989) Nature 337, 78-81) which has been cited 739 times.

Nathan Chishimba

Nathan Chishimba

Nathan, Corporate Affairs Manager, Lumwana Mining Company, Zambia was elected President of Zambian Chamber of Mines last month.

'I studied the MSc (Oil & Gas Economics) programme at the Centre for energy petroleum mineral law and policy.

'I came in with roughly six years experience from my job back in Zambia where I worked as an Energy Economist in the Policy and Planning Unit of the Ministry of Energy and Water Development.

'After uni I went back to my job at Ministry of Energy but have changed jobs several times. A few months after my return I was transferred to the Ministry of Finance to become Special Assistant to the Minister of Finance. After working there for a couple of years I was head hunted to start the research and policy department in Zambia's tax agency, the Zambia Revenue Authority. Five years later I left to head an advisory team in the country office for the Netherlands Development organisation SNV. Two years later, I was recruited by Equinox Minerals to join the management team of the Lumwana Copper Project, a US$800 million copper mining development in North-Western Zambia.

'My current job involves being part of the senior management team of Equinox in Zambia, and managing all corporate matters ranging from regulation, government relations, corporate strategy, scheduling and managing board matters and managing business relationships. In the latter role I represent the company on all industry matters, which has resulted in me being drafted onto the executive committee of the Zambian Chamber of Mines, the main industry body for the mining industry in Zambia. In May this year I was elected President of the Chamber for 2008/2009. It is a challenging appointment at a time when there are a lot of legislative and fiscal changes. I hope to rise to the occasion and lead the industry to higher heights locally and internationally.

'I have been fortunate to acquire a lot of knowledge and experience at a relatively young age, and initially, I would like to put this to very good use at higher levels in the mining/petroleum industry, or any other industry for that matter. Afterwards, it would probably only be fair that I share this knowledge and experience with others. At this stage a lecturing or other educational post would be a good attraction.

'My greatest achievement? I guess there are several achievements I could choose from, including my current role as a senior manager in the largest single investment in Zambia's history and my position as an industry leader in a very prominent industry in Zambia. But most of all, I rate the role I played in being part of the team pioneering Zambia's ultimate debt cancellation by the IMF/World Bank in the late 1990's to early 2000's as one of the most satisfying phases of my career.'

Peter Anghelides

Peter has managed a varied career since he left Dundee - during the day he is an operation manager for IBM, by night he writes Dr Who scripts for the BBC.

'I went to Dundee in 1980 because it was then the only university where I could do a joint honours degree in English and Mathematics, then in my Junior Honours year, I decided to focus on English. After I started a postgrad, I got a job as a journalist. I found I was enjoying that more than the research, and so that was my first properly-paid full-time salaried role. 'I had heard that International Business Machines (IBM) was a really interesting place to work. I became a technical author - the job required technical ability, logical reasoning, and creativity, and sounded good fun. It also paid twice as much as I was earning as a journalist, which influenced my decision somewhat.

'Since joining IBM in 1988, I've changed jobs perhaps once every couple of years. Most recently, I'm working as an operations manager for an international team. My colleagues are in America, Canada, China, Japan, and various European countries. I have budgetary responsibility for an investment review board that supports developers all around IBM, particularly those who work as graphic designers, translators, information developers, and human factors engineers.

'As something of a sideline, distinct from my IBM work, I also write fiction for various publishing companies. Mostly this is tiein material that accompanies TV programmes, and especially the BBC's Doctor Who. Over the past ten years I've written short stories, novels, audio plays, and magazine articles. This year I've done another novel, an audio play, and a comic strip - and I'm discussing a couple more things for later in the year.

'IBM is my full-time job, and therefore has priority. Which is not to say that I don't take the fiction writing seriously! The books are published professionally, and I sign formal contracts for all of them, so I treat each new commission like any professional writer. But if I'm too busy at IBM, then I have to decline requests to write more fiction. I was disappointed to have to turn down a couple of interesting new offers recently, but I cannot neglect my day job. Nor can I neglect my family, either!

'In my writing career, my current highlight is having an Amazon audio bestseller, read by David Tennant (Doctor Who himself).'

Dr Fadia Daibes-Murad

Dr Daibes-Murad

Fadia is a water law expert who studied at the University of Dundee.

She says, 'I came to Dundee for a conference, when I was eight months pregnant, and thought it was fantastic - I was determined to study here. I came for a year when my youngest child was six months old, leaving the other kid with my husband at home - my Mum came to help with the baby. But then I upgraded to a PhD - I divided my time and did a lot of studying via video conferences and covered a lot of miles between Dundee and Palestine. I finally finished in 2004.

'I knew my degree would guarantee me a good job, so I started working with the Palestinian Water Authority and worked there for eight years on building this institution. I have now got several roles, I work freelance as a water law and policy consultant, and I'm heavily involved in shaping the future of water law in the Middle East including working on resolving the water conflict between Israel and Palestine.'

Dr Fadia Diabes-Murad was awarded the Edberg Award 2005, presented at a special awards ceremony in Stockholm. The award recognised her contribution to peace in the Middle East through her work on water law, including using water as a catalyst for peace in the Middle East. 'I'm recognised as an international expert, partly because my degree is from Dundee which is a highly respected University.

'I have been totally accepted as a woman - probably because of my qualifications. People realise that they have to discuss issues with me as a professional.

'I also work with the people of Iraq through the UN ESCWA, helping train elected women with decision making powers on how to solve water law issues.

'My work is hard, but it's varied and so rewarding and I think myself lucky to be doing these jobs.'

Catriona Herd

Catriona was a student at Duncan of Jordanstone, but now lives in New York and has just completed a fantastic solo show. Her work is going to be shown at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh from 22nd December.


Catriona says: 'I was lucky enough to study at DoJ when James Morrison and Alberto Morrocco were teaching there. 'But for me, the biggest influence was Jack Knox, who encouraged and inspired me.

'I remain in close contact with friends I made at DoJ - our friendships were forged in Frew's pub and the fabulous Gunga Din curry house. My time at Duncan of Jordanstone gave me many things including a sound technical training in drawing and painting. 'Such a solid grounding gave me the confidence to go and find my own voice as a painter. I started my favoured practice of plein air (outdoor) sketching while in Dundee, spending many chilly hours sketching the grand old houses of Broughty Ferry. 'I can only develop the colour in my pictures from sketches that are done outdoors. Only by working outdoors can I strive to catch the moment and the mood.'

'I get joy from using colour and it is this, I believe, that gives my pictures their vitality and emotion. People who came to my show in New York kept saying my pictures were honest, which I guess they are - an honest response to what I see.

Catriona Herd

'I taught art for a short time in Scottish schools but frankly it was not for me, and then we moved to Hong Kong, where I enjoyed teaching English as a foreign language to adults - in between travelling and sketching in mainland China.

'At one time I helped to run Oddbins wine stores in Edinburgh - and with a similar wine retailer in New Zealand. In this role I sat wine exams and gained valuable knowledge and had a lot of fun as self-appointed artist at each store. It really was a blast.' Catriona left Duncan of Jordanstone in 1981 after her post graduate year and then graduated from Moray House teacher training college in Edinburgh before eventually moving to New York.

'New York was the perfect place to get back to painting full time. Here, if you look for them and are prepared to take a risk, the opportunities are there.'

'All the jobs I did were valuable experience but I am now a full-time painter and have been for the past five years. After the success of my New York show I am really looking forward to my exhibition in Edinburgh at Christmas.'