Qualifications and history
- 1991 PhD in Crystallography, Birkbeck College, UK
- 1991 Postdoctoral Fellow (Lucille P. Markey Scholar), Columbia University, USA
- 1994 Established Structural Biology Lab at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, UK
- 1996 Reader (Associate Professor), Birkbeck College, London, UK
- 1999 Principal Scientist, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London (in 2002 the Imperial Cancer Research Fund became London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK)
- 2006 Professor of Structural Biology, Institute of Structural Molecular Biology, Birkbeck College, London UK
- 2015 Group Leader, the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
Neil completed his doctoral training with Professor Tom Blundell at Birkbeck College where he determined the structure of nerve growth factor (NGF), the first example of a 'cystine knot' fold. He then moved to New York for his postdoctoral training in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University.
He was awarded a prestigious Lucille P. Markey Scholarship to study ciliary neurotrophic factor and its receptors in the laboratory of Professor Wayne A. Hendrikson.
After his postdoctoral fellowship, he moved back to London to join the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) London Research Institute (now part of the Francis Crick Institute) as a group leader in 1994. He also has held a chair at Birkbeck College since 2006.
His research interests lie in the structural biology of growth factor signaling, with a major focus on defining molecular mechanisms controlling protein kinase and protein phosphatase activation. He is particularly interested in the activation and deregulation of the RET receptor tyrosine kinase and AGC protein kinases.
Neil has contributed to several CRUK and Wellcome-funded drug discovery programs, including one that has delivered a first-in-class, pre-clinical candidate against a known cancer target.