Dr. Tony Long, Principal Scientist
Name: Tony Long
Job Title: Principal Scientist
I’m Tony and I’m a principal scientist in Lhasa’s science team. I graduated in chemistry from The University College of Wales Cardiff (now Cardiff University) and stayed on in the same department for a PhD with Dr. Patrick Shannon, working on synthetic routes to analogues of topoisomerase II inhibitors such as ellipticine and olivacine. Following this I took up a Cancer Research Campaign-funded post at Brunel University working with Dr. John Parrick and colleagues in the Gray Cancer Institute at Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood. This involved the chemical synthesis, characterisation and fluorometric evaluation of candidate molecules for use as probes for hypoxic regions of solid tumours in cancer therapy.
I joined Lhasa Limited (then Lhasa UK) in 1990 when our primary focus was computer applications supporting synthesis planning, particularly retrosynthetic analysis. My first role was developing the chemistry knowledge base that supported these systems - focussing mainly, but not exclusively, on pharmaceutically important heteroaromatic ring systems. I had first become interested in computer aided synthesis planning and chemical reaction databases after having been introduced to the methods by Prof. Peter Sammes whilst at Brunel.
I have seen massive changes at Lhasa over the years and have witnessed the company grow from 5 or 6 people all “mucking-in” to get things done to its current state of over 150 (and still growing) more specialist and highly professional employees who are a fantastic group of people to work with. It is incredible that after so many years, Lhasa still has the ability to stimulate, stretch and challenge - most years see me attempting something different and breaking new ground.
My main scientific interest has been in the development of data and knowledge bases for the prediction of xenobiotic metabolism. I have lead project teams in this domain and also, working across functions, championed relevant existing and emerging products in this area. Although I still work across multiple projects, for the last three years I have internally lead a team of 12 scientists contributing to EU-ToxRisk, a €30 million Horizon 2020 integrated European flagship programme driving mechanism-based toxicity testing and risk assessment for the 21st century. I am also interested in a wide variety of related scientific topics including toxicology, biochemistry, pharmacology, synthetic, mechanistic and medicinal chemistry and chemical degradation. I enjoy writing scientific publications and am always keen to engage and collaborate on such efforts. I have been hugely privileged over the years to co-author with several highly distinguished and eminent scientists - my contribution to the scientific literature has elicited over 1000 citations.
Outside of the scientific work, I line manage (directly and indirectly) a team of 10 outstanding PhD-level scientists and, amongst many other things, do a great deal of staff recruitment for the company. I have recently taken an interest in learning about employment law and best practice in more detail, which has meant a bit of hanging around with lawyers! I am a Chartered Chemist (CChem) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and a member of the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (ISSX).
Outside of work I enjoy reading - particularly novels, biographies and history; classical music, opera and theatre; spending time with family and friends; and when the weather isn’t too bad I enjoy the occasional round of golf.