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Dr David Foley

Dr David Foley

Research Fellow

School of Biosciences

+44 (0)29 2251 1073
Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


I am a Medicinal Chemist and Project Leader in the Medicines Discovery Institute, leading interdiciplinary teams to identify new treatments for diseases of the brain.

I have over 10 years' experience of translational research in academia, during which time I have been fortunate to work in some of the UK's leading drug discovery institutes. I have particular expertise in the early stages of drug discovery, including target validation, hit identification and early lead optimisation towards in vivo proof-of-concept.


2013-2018Medicinal ChemistDrug Discovery Unit, Dundee, UK
2011-2013Research FellowUniversity of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
2009-2011Research FellowQueens University Belfast, Belfast, UK
2008-2009Research AssociateKeele University, Keele, UK











I am interested in bridging the gap between fundamental research coming from universities across the world and the development of new medicines to treat patients. My research focusses on translating these early ideas to a point where they are suitable for investment by either established pharmaceutical companies or a new biotech spin-outs. I am particularly experienced in small molecule drug discovery, from hit identification through to in vivo proof-of-concept.

My current projects include:

  • Chemistry Team Leader on a £3.1M Wellcome Trust grant to identify molecules that interact with specific subtypes of the GABAA receptor, as a potential way to treat the cognitive impairment associated with Huntington's disease, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Dundee.
  • Project Leader on a £2.5M MRC grant to validate a new target for Fragile-X Syndrome, the most common inherited cause of learning disabilities. This project is in collboration with the University of Dundee and Oxford.
  • Principal Investigator on a £60k MRC Confidence in Concept grant to validate a new approach for the oral delivery of large molecules including PROTACs and peptides.