SGC Innovators Spotlight


Faster Cures interviews SGC Director Aled Edward on their Innovators spotlight. 

Aled Edwards: Carrying Out Open-Access Research in Structural and Chemical Biology


This is the eighth in a series of profiles of people driving some of the most promising consortia in medical research. It is part of FasterCures’ Consortia-pedia project – which dissects the research-by-collaboration model and aims to establish a framework that can be applied broadly.

1. How would you describe the goal of SGC to your mom?

To increase our knowledge of human disease so that we can invent better medicines, faster. To do this, we formed a group of scientists in academia and industry who collaborate and create expensive tools to study human genes and proteins. Unlike the norm, where such tools are patented and provided to scientists under highly restrictive legal constraints, we make them available to the research community around the globe with no strings attached. The widespread use of these tools has already led to science that has stimulated new clinical trials and taken us a step closer to cures for diseases such as cancer.

2. Leading SGC goes beyond the scope of a regular day-job.  What keeps you motivated you to stay at it?

In the current drug discovery ecosystem, and with the resources at hand on this planet, there is no way we can invent new medicines for all the diseases and sub-diseases that we are discovering with genomic studies. If we do nothing, the promise of genomics will not be realized for generations. I believe with all my heart that what we are doing is the best way to translate promise to reality.

3. What has surprised you the most about SGC?  What weren’t you expecting?

How much fun it has been, and I was not expecting the incredible support that we are getting from scientists in the pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, pharma appears to be ahead of the curve on open access compared with governments.

4. If you could trade places with anyone in the world for one week, who would it be?

Not the Brazilian goalkeeper! (On this day, Brazil loses to Germany 1-7 during the semi-finals FIFA World Cup game).


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