Associate Adjunct Scientist
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Dr. Robert K. Campbell is an Adjunct Associate Scientist in the Josephine Bay Paul Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory. He also has an appointment as a Visiting Scientist at Brown University in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology.
I am interested in understanding how to fight diseases. My research is directed at discovering drug leads and at understanding biological processes relevant for health. Since most drug discovery efforts fail – often after investment of many millions of dollars – I am also interested in tactics that use the scientific method and statistical evaluation of evidence to mitigate risk, accelerate learning, and improve decision-making in projects. My approach to these research and project challenges is based on collaboration with scientists and students at all levels of their training.
For drug discovery I use comparative genomics to identify proteins that may be good targets for new medicines. Experiments with biology and biochemistry are then used to determine if manipulation of these candidate drug targets is likely to be beneficial. Collaborations with chemists provide the molecular inventions essential to test these ideas, and establish confidence that an effective medicine is possible to achieve. Molecular modeling and collaborations with structural biologists are used to understand how candidate drugs interact with their targets, and to guide the improvement of drug design.
I have been fortunate to work with great teams in industry on development of medicines now used to treat infectious diseases, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, heart failure, high cholesterol, infertility, and metabolic disorders. This includes experience with all stages of drug discovery and development, from identification of targets and candidate molecules to clinical proof of concept, registration studies, regulatory approval, and product launch. I have also been fortunate to work with many great students, starting with the bioinformatics course "Drug Discovery and Development" that I created and taught in the Rabb School at Brandeis University, and continuing with high school, college, and graduate students at the MBL.