Dr Richard Gessner

Senior Investigator | TB Chem

After completing a PhD in 2008 under the supervision of Prof Kelly Chibale, Richard continued to do two years of post-doctorate research in malaria drug discovery on a WHO collaboration project under the supervision of Chibale at the University of Cape Town.

In 2011, he was awarded a prestigious industrial postdoc placement at GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage, UK, where he worked on medicinal chemistry projects in respiratory therapeutics with Dr Simon MacDonald. Richard returned to UCT in 2012, and continued to work for a further two years as a post doctorate fellow in tuberculosis drug discovery as a part of the SATRII (South African Tuberculosis Research Innovative Initiative) team under Chibale. Since taking up the position at the H3D, UCT, in 2014, Richard has been responsible for overseeing TB and malaria drug discovery projects that involve multidisciplinary teams (chemistry/biology/ADME/PK) at H3D/UCT, with external partners and collaborators (including IDRI, Lilly, GSK, DDU, NIAID) within the Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator (TBDA – a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative) and Celgene Global Health (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2019). Furthermore, he has played a major role in implementing research project management (Jan 2017 to present) across H3D, after a 10-week management training sabbatical at the end of 2016 at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge, MA, USA.