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Professor Janet Allen appointed Director
of UCD Conway Institute

The President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady, has announced the appointment of Professor Janet Allen to the position of Director of the UCD Conway Insitutute.

Professor Janet Allen
Professor Janet Allen

Professor Allen joins UCD from Inpharmatica Discovery Biology Laboratories in London where she was Director of Discovery Biology since 2001. She has a most distinguished career in research and innovation spanning over twenty years.

Janet Allen has an extraordinary track record in discovery that spans molecular cell biology, protein chemistry, lead identification and target evaluation. Her calibre in translational science is recognised throughout the world and she has demonstrated management skills at a global level.” said Dr Brady. “I am delighted that she has joined the Conway Institute in what will undoubtedly be a most exciting period of discovery for us all.”

Janet Allen’s principle research interest covers functional studies using cell and molecular biology to investigate cell activation mechanisms.

Professor Allen initially gained a first class honours degree in Biochemistry from the University of London in 1974. She studied medicine at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, leading to an initial career practising medicine, subsequently gaining MRCP qualification. In 1982 she moved her career into scientific research, through a Wellcome Trust Fellowship firstly working in neurology with Professor Stephen Bloom at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London, and then as a post-doctoral scientist at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.

In 1990 Professor Allen was appointed to faculty at the University of Cambridge where she built an active research group. In 1994 she was appointed to the Chair of Molecular Medicine at the University of Glasgow, eventually growing this group to 20 scientists.

During this time she established a biotechnology spin-off company – Ligand Xpress Ltd.

Professor Allen also spent three years at Park Davis/Pfizer (Fresnes, France) as Director of Cell and Molecular Biology where she had global responsibility for discovery technology.
Professor Allen has over 130 full peer reviewed scientific papers. In 2000 she was elected to a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) and in 2002 she was appointed visiting professor at University of Glasgow and visiting professor at Imperial College, School of Medicine.

During her time in both academic and industrial research, she has filed a number of key patents;

  • three with Brian Seed in Harvard covering cDNA encoding CD40 antigen, DNA encoding CD19 and a rapid immunoselection cloning method
  • one from the University of Glasgow on methods for screening bacteriophage libraries
  • six additional biotechnology patents while with Parke Davis/Pfizer covering human spingosine kinase cDNA and polypeptides, methods and compositions for screening Icrac modulators, methods for screening interactions between two compounds using Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Phenomenon and Kits, the use of selective inhibitors of PDE4B, RGS2 as a biomarker for macrophage activation and a target in inflammation, and CD38 as macrophagic biomarker or target for COPD.

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