Lab Story – Prof Ruth Roberts

Lighthouse Labs

Medicines Discovery Catapult

What do you do when you’re not working at the Lighthouse Labs?

I’m a Director and Co-founder of ApconiX, an integrated toxicology and ion channel company, and Chair and Director of Drug Discovery at the University of Birmingham.

How many years of scientific experience do you have?


What is your role in the Lighthouse Lab?

I’m part of the Alderley Park Lighthouse Lab Senior Leadership Team. My particular role is helping to think about the longer-term horizon alongside the current phase of intense and focused activity needed to deliver ramp up testing.

What is the key experience you bring to that role?

I was Global Head of Regulatory Safety at AstraZeneca for 10 years and Director of Toxicology for Aventis in Paris, France before that. I have over 150 publications in peer reviewed journals, and was president of EUROTOX, past-president of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences and president elect of HESI, a non-profit institution based in D.C. I was the recipient of the SOT Achievement award in 2002, the EUROTOX Bo Holmstedt Award in 2009 and the SOT 2018 Founders award.

Specifically for the Lighthouse Lab, I think I bring strategic thinking and a track record of success in delivering challenging and ambitious projects.

How is it different to your regular role?

Not so different! Working with a team of outstanding professionals to bring together the best science strategy and ideas to solve problems and deliver solutions.

Why did you want to get involved?

It needs a coordinated global effort to adapt to life with COVID and protect the health and welfare of everyone. I want to help!

What does it mean to you to be involved?

I feel very connected with the national and international struggle to manage COVID-19.

What is it like working alongside a host of new colleagues from both industry and academia?

I actually knew around 50% of the team from previous alliances and collaborations – this is a real positive aspect of the strong science base in the north-west. On top of this, our new challenge is bringing out new sides, strengths and depths in all of us! It’s also great to meet and work alongside experts I haven’t worked with before – they will certainly be a key part of my post COVID network!

What is the best thing about working in the Lighthouse Lab?

We have a good-humoured camaraderie which means we can debate, challenge and question everything to get to the best decisions. I feel challenged and supported in equal measure which is a great recipe for team performance.

“It needs a coordinated global effort to adapt to life with COVID and protect the health and welfare of everyone. I want to help!”