Chris Pepper

Chris Pepper

Professor of Cancer Research

Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Chris gained his PhD in medicinal chemistry from the Welsh School of Pharmacy in 1993. Since then his research career has been primarily focused on haematological malignancies. For more than two decades, Chris’ research has focused on understanding the mechanisms that underpin the development of disease progression and drug resistance using primary chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells as a model. Chris maintains that the study of this disseminated tumour represents an unrivalled opportunity to unravel these processes as longitudinal sampling from both the lymphoid tissues and the peripheral blood is possible. There is an increasing realisation that tumour pathology and the development of drug resistance are not only determined by the intrinsic tumour genotype but are also influenced by the interplay between tumour cells and the different microenvironments in which they reside. In order to address this, Chris’ team have developed a number of in vitro models to mimic these tumour microenvironments and investigate the molecular drivers of tumour cell trafficking, homing and tissue retention.

His research is almost entirely patient-focussed; most of his work is based on primary CLL cells and has a strong translational element designed to improve patient care. In this regard, his team were the first to demonstrate the clinical importance of the BCL2 family of proteins and the transcription factor NF-κB in modulating disease progression and response to drugs. His background in medicinal chemistry has led to a strong interest in evaluating the efficacy and mechanisms of action of novel pre-clinical agents. His current drug development programme includes agents targeting IKKα, NIK, CDK9, CXCR4 and ANXA1.

Chris has published more than 130 research papers, as well as numerous reviews and editorials, and has consistently secured grant funding from major sources including Blood Cancer UK, The Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the Worldwide Cancer Research. His research has made a number of notable contributions to the field of CLL and is internationally recognized as demonstrated by sustained contributions to the world literature in high impact factor journals including papers in Leukemia, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Nature Communications and Nature Genetics. According to Expertscape, Chris is in the top 0.5% of all researchers in his field. In addition, he is an author of eight global patents and the co-founder of a Cardiff University spin-out company called TeloNostiX.

  • Tumour Microenvironment and trafficking
  • Drug Development
  • Haematological Malignancies
  • Telomere Biology
  • NF-κB
  • RM Phillips Chair in Experimental Medicine, 2022

    Brighton and Sussex Medical School

  • Professor of Cancer Research, 2017

    Brighton and Sussex Medical School

  • Professor of Cancer Biology & Drug Development and Dean of Research, 2013-2017

    Cancer & Genetics School of Medicine, Cardiff University.

  • Reader, 2010-2013

    Cancer & Genetics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University.

  • Senior Lecturer, 2006-2009

    Dept. Haematology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University.

  • Senior Research Fellow, 2004-2006

    Dept. of Haematology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University.

  • Clinical Research Scientist, 1995-2004

    Dept. of Haematology, Llandough Hospital

  • Post-Doctoral Scientist, 1994-1995

    Department of Pathology, UWCM.

  • PhD Medicinal Chemistry, 1993

    Welsh School of Pharmacy.

  • BSc (Hons), Biomedical Science, 1989

    University of Wales College, Cardiff.