Born in Israel, Dr. Nir London served in the Intelligence Corps. He completed his BSc magna cum laude in 2006 and his MSc in 2007, both in computer sciences and computational biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He earned his PhD in microbiology and molecular genetics at Hadassah Medical School in 2011, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in at the University of California, San Francisco in 2015. Dr. London joined the Department of Organic Chemistry in June 2015 and is the incumbent of the Alan and Laraine Fischer Career Development Chair.
The London lab develops and applies computational and experimental methods to design and discover new compounds for applications in chemical biology and drug discovery and design, with a focus on covalent inhibition and cancer biology. Covalent chemical bonds are the strongest bonds in existence. Compounds that form covalent bonds are the basis of many common and effective drugs—such as aspirin and penicillin—but they also tend to bond with everything, leading to undesirable side effects. Dr. London designed software—called DOCKovalent—to evaluate the precise structural fit for new compounds that form covalent bonds that are target-specific, not promiscuous. This software has the potential to create faster and more efficient drug discovery pipelines and a wider range of potential drugs. To complement this work, the London lab also developed an experimental technology platform for the rapid identification of covalent-binding compounds, and they have applied it successfully against a variety of targets.
Dr. London’s honors include an EMBO postdoctoral fellowship (2012-2014) as well as a postdoctoral award from the Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research in 2013. In 2016, Dr. London received both the Alon Fellowship for Outstanding Young Researchers and an Outstanding Research Award from the Israel Cancer Association. In 2018, he was one of two recipients worldwide of the AACR-BCRF Career Development Award, and was recognized in the IUPAC Periodic Table of Young Chemists.
Dr. London is married with two daughters.