Nathanael Gray

Faculty Advisor, Medicinal Chemistry
Mail Code: 0000

Prof. Nathanael Gray is a Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford, Co-Director of Cancer Drug Discovery and of the Cancer Therapeutics Research Program at the Stanford Cancer Institute, and Institute Scholar of Sarafan ChEM-H at Stanford University. In his role at the Stanford Innovative Medicines Accelerator (IMA), he helps support the development of drug prototypes.

Prof. Gray received his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1999 after receiving his BS degree with the highest honor award from the same institution in 1995. During his PhD work, he developed new combinatorial chemistry and functional genomics approaches that resulted in the discovery of Purvalanol, one of the first selective inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases. After completing his PhD, Prof. Gray was recruited to the newly established Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) in San Diego, California. Thereafter, he returned to academia and joined the faculty of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston. In 2021, he moved to Stanford University. His research uses the tools of synthetic chemistry, protein biochemistry, and cancer biology to discover and validate new strategies for addressing anti-cancer targets. Prof. Gray’s research has had broad impact in the areas of kinase inhibitor and degrader design and in circumventing drug resistance. His generalized strategy for structure-based design of inhibitors that stabilize the inactive kinase conformations (type II) has been widely adopted by the research community and has had a significant impact on the development of numerous inhibitors of tyrosine kinases that are currently undergoing clinical development.

Prof. Gray has also been involved in establishing new companies to advance projects from the lab into the commercial sector including: Gatekeeper (acquired), Petra, Syros (IPO), C4, Soltego, B2S, Allorion, Jengu Therapeutics, and Shenandoah Therapeutics. These contributions have been recognized through numerous awards including the National Science Foundation’s Career award in 2007, the Damon Runyon Foundation Innovator award in 2008, the American Association for Cancer Research for Team Science in 2010 and for Outstanding Achievement in 2011, the American Chemical Society award for Biological Chemistry in 2011, and the Nancy Lurie Marks endowed professorship in 2015 and the Paul Marks Prize in 2019.