Professor Fairlamb is Head of the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery at the University of Dundee. He obtained his degree in Medicine and PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh (1965-1975). Following postdoctoral studies on the biochemistry and chemotherapy of trypanosomes, leishmania and malaria at the University of Amsterdam, the University of Edinburgh, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Rockefeller University, he moved in 1996 to the University of Dundee as a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow to become Head of the Division of Biological Chemistry & Drug Discovery.
Alan has published over 200 research papers and review articles on the identification, validation and molecular characterisation of novel biochemical drug targets against parasitic diseases. His major research achievement was the discovery of trypanothione, a unique metabolite that is implicated in the mode of action of several of the current, unsatisfactory treatments for African trypanosomiasis, Chagas’ disease and leishmaniasis.
Alan is a tireless advocate of the urgent need for new drugs for the most neglected tropical diseases and has served as a scientific advisor to the World Health Organisation, the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative over the past 25 years. Together with colleagues at Dundee, he played a pivotal role in establishing the Drug Discovery Unit, whose primary focus is on tropical parasitic diseases. Among many prizes and honours, he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours 2005, for services to medical science.