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Dr Thomas Keller

did his PhD in organic synthesis at the University of British Columbia under the 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, Dr Keller 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 to form Novartis it was decided to locate a new, expanded respiratory disease research group in Horsham, England. Dr Keller 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 β-agonist Onbrez/Arcapta that was recently registered in the US and Europe.

In January 2003, Dr Keller 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 and 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 recently completed phase 2 studies. Since May 2010, Dr Keller is Head of Chemistry at the Experimental Therapeutics Centre.