Teaching staff


Professor Leonard Seymour

Role: Course Director & Tutor

Module Lead of Biological Therapeutics module

Professor Len Seymour is a world authority on genetic medicine, with over 120 publications and several patents. Len is Professor of Gene Therapies, and Director of the Section of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Oxford’s Department of Oncology. He sits on a number of editorial and scientific advisory boards, was the founding President of the British Society for Gene Therapy, and is the current General Secretary of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy.

Professor Seymour is also Co-Founder of Oxford Genetics.


Dr Elaine Johnstone

Role: Deputy Course Director & Tutor

Module Lead of Pharmacodynamics, Biomarkers and Personalised Therapy module

Dr Elaine Johnstone is the Deputy Course Director and Research Fellow in the Department of Oncology. Following a BSc in Medicinal Chemistry and PhD in Molecular Pharmacology both from Newcastle University, she gained a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Bordeaux for 18 months. She then moved to Oxford University to continue studying her interests in pharmacogenetics (latterly pharmacogenomics), initially in cancer prevention through smoking cessation. She now leads the Translational Oncology Research Group in the Section of Clinical Pharmacology and her current research focuses on identifying individual differences in genes and proteins which affect response to chemotherapy in bowel cancer, with a view to tailoring treatments more effectively to each patient.


Professor Rachel Kerr

Module Lead of The Structure of Clinical Trials and Experimental Therapeutics module

Rachel gained a BSc (Physiology) followed by an MBChB with Honours from University of Birmingham in 1994. After general medical postgraduate training (MRCP) she undertook research into cancer vaccines, leading to the award of her PhD in 2002.

Rachel is Associate Professor of Gastrointestinal Oncology in the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford and Consultant Medical Oncologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust within the colorectal cancer multidisciplinary team. She has been the recipient of multiple personal fellowships from the MRC, DH and HEFCE and has authored over 100 papers in the field of colorectal cancer. Rachel is also Clinical Director of Phase 3 Trials at the Oncology Clinical Trials Office (OCTO) based within the University and has extensive experiencing setting up, managing and writing up clinical trials in this area. Rachel has been CI / Co-CI on trials that have recruited almost 15,000 patients over the last 15 years.

Professor Paul Brennan

Module Lead of Drug Development, Pharmacokinetics and Imaging module

Paul Brennan received his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley under the mentorship of Paul Bartlett working on synthetic methodology for combinatorial chemistry and synthesizing inhibitors for new anti-bacterial targets.  Following three years of post-doctoral research with Steve Ley in Cambridge University on the total synthesis of rapamycin, Paul returned to California to take a position at Amgen.  His research was focused on designing and synthesizing kinase inhibitors for oncology.  After two years at Amgen, Paul accepted a position as medicinal chemistry design lead at the world-renowned Pfizer labs in Sandwich, UK. 

Over the next six years Paul designed and synthesized compounds for most major drug classes: GPCR’s, CNS-targets, ion-channels and metabolic enzymes.  Following the closure of the Pfizer site in Sandwich in 2011, Paul joined the Structural Genomics Consortium as the Associate Professor of medicinal chemistry to discover chemical probes for epigenetic proteins.


Dr Michael Theodorakis

Module Lead of Adverse Drug Reactions, Drug Interactions and Pharmacovigilance module

Dr Theodorakis is a Senior Clinical Researcher at the Diabetes Trials Unit, Oxford Centre for Diabetes Endocrinology and Metabolism and a practising Clinician at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Following board certification in Internal Medicine, he specialised in Diabetes and was trained and accredited in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He has been an Expert and Member of European Medicines Agency Committees and other EU Commission workgroups. He is currently an ad hoc Member of the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee, European Commission, Directorate General Health & Consumers, while also serving at the Clinical Trials Safety Group at the University of Oxford.

Dr Grant D Vallance

Module Lead of How to do Research on Therapeutic Interventions: Protocol Preparation module

Dr Grant D. Vallance originally hails from New Zealand. He has degrees in Biochemistry (undergraduate), Bioethics (Masters), and Ethics and the Philosophy of Science (Ph.D.). He has spent 5 years on various NHS Research Ethics Committees and among other things worked in clinical trials coordination for the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH). He now works as an Information Manager in the OUH as well as leading the Experimental Therapeutics Module 5 – How to do Research on Therapeutic Interventions: Protocol Preparation.