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Damian O’Connell MD BSc PhD
CEO Experimental Therapeutics, Bio-therapeutics & Development Centres A*STAR - Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore

Damian is CEO of the Experimental Therapeutics Centre, Experimental Bio-therapeutics Centre and D3 (Drug Discovery & Development) since October 2018. 

Previously Damian was Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery – Global Head of Clinical Sciences, Bayer Pharma AG, Berlin – Germany. Clinical Sciences (CS) is a global organization (based Germany, US, Japan, China) with responsibility for the first use of drug products in humans up to Proof of Concept, as well as all clinical pharmacological components of NDAs. 

Prior to this role, Damian has held senior positions within Pfizer Research & Development, Parke Davis, Elan Pharmaceuticals & Neurex. Damian, has both MD & PhD degrees from the National University of Ireland, has been a Medical Faculty member of The University of Virginia Health Sciences Center as well as being a member of the Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics Department at University College Cork, Ireland where he was a Professor of Clinical Research. He started his career in the Industry in 1998. 

Damian is a member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine; Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine; Fellow of The Royal Academy of Medicine (Ireland); Member of the British Pharmacological Society; Member of the Drug Safety Executive Council (DSEC); Member American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics; Member American College of Clinical Pharmacology; Member of American Society of Pharmacometrics; Member of the Irish Association of Pharmacologists; Member of the Irish Cardiac Society; Member of the British Hypertension Society.

Thomas Keller, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Head Of Chemistry

Thomas did his PhD in organic synthesis at the University of British Columbia under supervision of Prof Larry Weiler, followed by post-doctoral studies at the University of Geneva in the group of Prof Wolfgang Oppolzer working on Palladium chemistry.

After a second post-doc at the University of Toronto working with Prof Brian Jones on enzyme-catalyzed reactions, Thomas joined Sandoz in 1991. Initially he worked in a group exploring new chemistry for antisense nucleotides and SH2-domain inhibitors and later was promoted to the unit head chemistry position in the Sandoz Respiratory Diseases research group.

During the merger between Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy it was decided to locate a new, expanded respiratory disease research group in Horsham, England. Thomas moved to Horsham in 1997 and as unit head chemistry was responsible for the build up of the medicinal chemistry group, including the design of the chemistry labs in the new research building. During his time in Horsham the medicinal chemistry team designed several development compounds, culminating with the long acting b-agonist Onbrez/Arcapta that was recently registered in the US and Europe.

In January 2003 Thomas joined the newly formed Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in Singapore where as Head of Chemistry he built up a medicinal chemistry department for drug discovery in Dengue, TB. In 2007 the remit of his group was expanded to include Malaria, where NITD contributed medicinal chemistry expertise to a multinational research team working towards new drugs for Malaria. This effort resulted in the new, highly promising Malaria drug NITD-609, which is slated to enter clinical phase 2 studies in late 2011. Since May 2010 Thomas is Head of Chemistry at the Experimental Therapeutics Center.

Jeffrey Hill, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Head Of Biology

Jeffrey Hill performed his doctoral research at Cardiff University in the field of aspartic proteinases where he developed an interest in drug discovery for tropical diseases. After completing a WHO funded post-doctoral project on Plasmodial proteinases he relocated to Thailand and was involved in the characterisation of proteinases from a number of viruses including dengue.

On returning to Europe he began work for SmithKlineBeecham Pharmaceuticals which then became GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. During his time at GSK he worked in both the Discovery Research and the Genetics Research Divisions where he was involved in many aspects of target validation, assay development and biomarker discovery.

In 2006 Jeffrey returned to South East Asia and began working for the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) Singapore, first in the Bioinformatics Institute and then in the Experimental Therapeutics Centre. Currently he is a member of the senior management team, head of biology and group leader of the Protein Biochemistry and Analytics Group.