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The Alcarelle Team

Clear Bly Sky


The Alcarelle science team is comprised of highly experienced clinical research scientists, and is led by Professor David Nutt, Edward Safra Chair of NeuroPsychopharmacology at Imperial College.


Professor David Nutt, DM, FRCP, FRCPsych, FMedSci, DLaws

– Chief Scientific Officer

Psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist Professor Nutt studies the brain, drugs, and conditions such as addiction, anxiety and sleep. He spent two years as Chief of the Section of Clinical Science in the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in America before setting up the psychopharmacology unit at Bristol University. In 2008 he moved to Imperial College London as the Edmond J Safra chair in Neuropsychopharmacology. His book Drugs Without the Hot Air won the Transmission Prize for Communicating Science in 2014. He has published over 500 scientific papers, over 30 books, contributed to 8 government reports, and has edited the Journal of Psychopharmacology for 20 years. He was awarded the distinction of being included by Times Eureka magazine in 2010 as one of the 100 most important figures in British science and the Nature/Sense About Science John Maddox Prize in 2013.


Professor Niranjan Keshawan

– Food Chemistry Lead

Chemical engineer Professor Keshawan studies how engineering principles can be harnessed to create safe and environmentally sustainable methods of created processed food. As Professor of Food Bioprocessing at the University of Reading, where he has been a faculty member since 1989, his research covers a range of applications. These include reducing the health impacts of deep fried products, devising compostable packaging, creating more efficient methods to extract nutrients from fruits and vegetables, and improving the stability of foams and bubbles in products such as frothed milk. He has published over 125 research papers, is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology, and is an Editor of the Journal of Food Engineering.


Professor Stephen Husbands

– Advisory Board

Medicinal chemist Professor Husbands aims to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underpin neuropsychologicial diseases such as depression and anxiety, with a focus on substance abuse. He has been a Professor in the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology at the Centre for Therapeutic Innovation at the University of Bath since 2012, and thus far has published over 150 scientific papers. In recent years he has focused on how drugs that bind to opioid receptors in the brains, such as buprenorphine and naloxone, can be used to combat addiction to cocaine, opioids and other drugs. This work also contributes to our understanding of how changes in brain chemistry can influence conditions such as depression.


Professor James Cook

– Advisory Board

Organic chemist James Cook has worked in the fields of drug development, drug discovery and medicinal chemistry for over 40 years, currently positioned as the Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. His research group focuses on a number of applications in medicinal chemistry, notably the development of new anti-anxiety drugs that lack muscle-relaxant, ataxic and sedative-hypnotic side effects. These would improve the treatment of conditions such as anxiety disorders, panic attacks, PTSD, and agoraphobia, and would have less potential for abuse. He has published nearly 500 scientific papers and has sat on the editorial board for nine different journals including Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications.


Professor Ciara McCabe

– Head of Neuroscience & Food Liking

Neuroscientist Professor McCabe brings together the psychology and pharmacology of psychiatric disorders to better understand how they develop and how to treat them. Prof McCabe is the Head of the Neuroimaging of Reward Group in the Department of Psychology at Reading University. She studies the reward systems in the human brain that are involved in conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and anhedonia (a diminished ability to experience pleasure). Her lab has also studied how drugs such as opioids and cannabinoids affect the brain’s reward systems with the goal of improving treatments for addiction. She is an Associate Editor of the journals Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Frontiers in Psychiatry, and Translational Developmental Psychiatry.


Dr Louise Paterson

– Pharmacology Lead

Pharmacologist Dr Louise Paterson is a clinical researcher who studies the brain mechanisms and neuropharmacology underlying addiction, including understanding how chemical dependence impacts brain function and what brain pathways are involved in relapse. She is currently a Research Associate in the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. There she uses functional neuroimaging tools to produce state-of-the-art snapshots of the brain and uses these to develop better treatments. As a member of the Medical Research Council funded multi-site ICCAM study, she is using functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brains of people who have recently quit using drugs or alcohol in order to better understand what makes some people vulnerable to relapse.


Dr Robin Tyacke

– Biochemistry Lead

Neuropsychopharmacologist Dr Tyacke specialises in developing new tools to image the brain using various forms of neuroimaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). He has a particular interest in developing new kinds of “ligands”: chemicals that are injected into human subjects during brain scans, bind to specific receptors, and thus allow neuroscientists to visualise different regions of the brain through PET scans. The author of more than 100 research papers, Dr Tyacke is currently Research Manager at the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology and Molecular Imaging at Imperial College London. He is a member of The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the British Pharmacological Society and the British Association of Psychopharmacology.


Dr Sue Wilson

– Central Nervous System & Physiology Lead

Neuroscientist Dr Wilson uses brain imaging tools such as electroencephalogram (EEG) readings to measure brain activity during sleeping in order to better understand how drugs affect both neurotransmitter actions and the quality of sleep. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology in the Division of Brain Sciences at Imperial College, London. There she studies the effects of a variety of drugs including anti-depressants, opioids and benzodiazepines on brain receptor sites. As well as understanding the molecular mechanisms of sleep medications, her work also focuses on the treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and sleep disorders such as insomnia. She has authored over 150 scientific papers.


Dr Alan Borthwick

– Medicinal Chemistry Lead

Chemist Dr Borthwick is an independent consultant with the firm DrugMolDesign, providing expertise and support in drug design and medicinal chemistry to a wide range of sectors including academia, biotech and the pharmaceutical industry. With a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of London, he has over 35 years experience in assisting with drug design for major pharmaceutical companies, including numerous positions as project leader to a drug discovery team. Credits include producing the drug Fluparoxan and the once-a-day antihypertensive Lacidipine while Scientific Manager for GlaxoSmithKline. He has published over 60 scientific papers and is a named inventor on 35 patent applications, and is an expert advisor and consultant to the Wellcome Trust’s Expert Review Group.


David Orren

– Managing Director

David Orren shapes the business strategy for Alcarelle and is responsible for leading the commercialisation of Alcarelle technology. As a managing director he brings 20 years international experience of enabling disruptive technologies to secure market engagement. With a degree in Engineering and an MBA (US), he started his career as a Chartered Engineer with the Ford Motor Company. David has led profitable expansion for tech start-ups and regional divisions of Industry Leaders in the UK, Europe, Asia and the Americas, such as RealNames, Epicor, and Dun & Bradstreet. He is also an experienced coach and mentor to Tech Sector CEOs helping to develop new strategies to commercialize innovative technologies and expand into new markets.