Professor Sir David Lane

Chief Scientist

Professor Sir David Lane is one of the scientists credited with the landmark discovery of cancer gene p53 in 1979. p53, called the "Guardian of the genome" is considered the most significant of all the genes altered in cancer cells because mutations of the gene are known to cause almost 50 percent of all human cancers.

Professor Lane is currently the Chief Scientist of A*STAR, where his main role is to advise and engage in scientific development across the Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) and the Scientific Engineering Research Council (SERC) at the strategic level. He is the Director of the p53 Laboratory, which primarily focuses on research on protein interactions and how to develop drugs to inhibit such interactions using p53 as a model system. The laboratory works closely with Industry and currently has major collaborations with the Merck (MSD) on peptide based therapies and with local company ASLAN on antibody based therapies.

He was previously the Chairman of A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) scientific advisory board from 2002 to 2003 and Executive Director, IMCB from 2004 to 2007, where he added on a translational focus to IMCB’s core strengths in basic R&D, recruited many outstanding scientists and personally led efforts to foster greater collaboration, both within and outside of IMCB. He was also the founding CEO of A*STAR’s Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), which was set up in 2006. Professor Lane put in place a robust team of more than 60 scientists and built up top-of-the-line technological platforms essential for the drug discovery business. More recently Professor Lane helped establish Chugai Pharmabody Research (CPR) in Singapore. CPR employs over 100 staff at the Biopolis and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chugai Pharmaceuticals, developing advanced antibody products.

Professor Lane was the Chairman of BMRC from 2007 to 2009. During that time, he was involved in charting out the strategic directions for all 14 BMRC research institutes, consortia and centres, in preparation for the next phase of Singapore’s Biomedical Initiative. Professor Lane was also involved in the establishment of A*STAR’s cross-disciplinary R&D initiatives, working closely with the Scientific Engineering Research Council (SERC) and the then-Cross Council Office (CCO) to further strengthen collaborations and explore new areas of multidisciplinary research. Professor Lane also helped foster collaborations with Scotland, culminating with a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2006 between A*STAR and the University of Dundee to offer joint PhD training in biomedical sciences and explore opportunities for joint research collaborations.

Professor Lane completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at University College London where he studied auto-immunity. He did his postdoctoral training at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London and then at the Cold Spring Harbor Labs in New York. On his return to UK, he established his independent research lab at Imperial College London before moving to the University of Dundee. He is also the founder of Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel drugs for the treatment of cancer, with three oncology drug candidates in clinical trials.

He was previously the Director of the Cancer Research UK Cell Transformation Research Group and Professor of Oncology at the University of Dundee in Scotland. He also held the position of Chief Scientist with Cancer Research UK and Scientific Director of the Ludwig Institute.

For his efforts in cancer research, Professor Lane was knighted in 2000 and has won many awards such as the Paul Ehrlich Prize in 1998, the Buchanan Medal in 2004, the Medal of Honor from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2005 and the Royal Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2008. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and a Fellow of UK's premier scientific academy, the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a founder member of the Academy of Medical Science.

For his important role in the strategic development of Singapore’s biomedical sciences and distinguished contributions to cancer therapeutics and research, Professor Lane was awarded the 2017 President’s Science and Technology Medal.

Professor Lane has been awarded Honorary Degrees from the University of Abertay, University of Stirling, University of Aberdeen, University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, University of Dundee and the University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse. He is also a Professor of Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

Professor Lane has published more than 400 research articles in international peer reviewed journals, many of which have been very highly citied. He also co-authored a successful practical guide to the use of immunochemical methods called “Antibodies” with Ed Harlow, which has sold more than 50,000 copies.