Therapeutic Innovations for Kids (THINK)
Professor Ian Street joined Children’s Cancer Institute in 2020 as Director of THerapeutic INnovations for Kids (THINK). A new research initiative within the Institute’s Drug Discovery Centre, THINK provides an end-to-end pipeline of drug discovery and development and is dedicated to generating new therapies for rapid clinical application in children with cancer.
Ian has dedicated his 30+ year career to translational research and small molecule drug discovery. After completing a PhD in chemistry and enzymology at the University of British Columbia, Canada, he took up a postdoctoral appointment in the USA. He then joined Merck Research labs in Montreal and spent the next 11 years working in the pharma/biotech industry in North America and Australia.
In 2001, he accepted an appointment at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute as Laboratory Head and Deputy Director of the Cellular Growth Factors Cooperative Research Centre, spending the next 20 years working to bridge the gap between ‘researchers with great ideas’ and the technical and commercial realities of converting those ideas into new medicines.
‘Drug discovery fascinates me,’ Ian says. ‘It’s amazing to me that we can design a molecule that, when given in tiny amounts, will not affect 99.99% of the proteins and tissues in the patient's body, but will seek out its target and inactivate it, halting the course of a disease.’
Ian has established a number of facilities designed to take drug research from bench to bedside, and has participated in over 100 collaborative projects involving Australian and international scientists. In 2007 he co-founded the Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre, where he was Chief Scientist for 11+ years, during which time the outcomes of eight projects were licensed to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
In 2022, Professor Street was appointed to Conjoint Professor UNSW in recognition of his contributions to drug discovery both in Australia and internationally.