Access keys

Skip to content Accessibility Home News, events and publications Site map Search Privacy policy Help Contact us Terms of use

Chair's biography

Sir Tom Blundell FRS FMedSci

Tom Blundell, Director of Research and Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge.

Tom Blundell

His research interests are in the molecular architecture of living organisms and have been focused on molecular and structural biology of growth factors, receptor activation, signal transduction and DNA repair. He has characterised the roles of multiprotein assemblies in achieving high signal-to-noise in cell regulatory and signalling systems. He also has developed extensive software, pioneering knowledge-based approaches for structural bioinformatics that are used worldwide in academia and in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. He has made developed new approaches to exploring biological and chemical space for target selection and lead discovery in the development of chemical tools and candidate drugs. He has published 500 research papers.

After research and teaching positions in Molecular Biophysics in Oxford and Biochemistry in Sussex Universities, he was appointed in 1976 Professor in Birkbeck College, University of London. In 1996 he moved to Cambrridge as Sir William Dunn Professor and Head of Department of Biochemistry until 2009 and Head of School of Biological Sciences between 2003 and 2009. Tom Blundell is a member of Academia Europaea, a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Third World Academy of Sciences. He has Honorary Doctorates from 15 universities.

Tom has played an active role in national science policy. In the 1980s, he was a member of the advisory group to the Prime Minister (ACOST). He was Director General, Agricultural and Food Research Council (1991‑1994) and founding Chief Executive, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, BBSRC (1994-1996), Chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1998 to 2005) and President of the UK Biosciences Federation between 2004 and 2008. He has been non-executive Chairman of BBSRC since 1 July 2009 and President of the Science Council since 2011.

Tom was a Non-Executive Director of Celltech from 1996 to 2005 and has been involved in science advisory roles with Pfizer, UCB, SmithKlyneBeecham, Syntaxin and Isogenica over the past thirty years. He co-founded Astex Therapeutics, which has oncology drugs in early stage clinical trials in USA and UK, and is now merged with Supergen to become Astex Pharma, retaining its research base with around ~90 employees on the Science Park in Cambridge.