Professor Guillaume Lessene trained as an organic chemist, completing his PhD at the University of Bordeaux, before undertaking postdoctoral work with Professor Feldman at Pennsylvania State University.
Since moving to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 2001, his major research focus has been the development of small molecules that target apoptotic and necroptotic cell death pathways.
Since January 2019, Professor Lessene heads the New Medicines and Advanced Technologies Theme at the Institute. This multidisciplinary research theme comprises of basic research driven by structural and chemical biology, translation of basic discoveries into new medicines together with clinical research, and cutting-edge technologies.
Professor Lessene's work targeting the BCL-2 family of proteins for cancer therapy formed the basis of a major collaboration between the Institute and two pharmaceutical companies, Genentech and AbbVie, leading to the development of venetoclax, the first BH3-mimetic approved by the US Federal Drug Agency (FDA) for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).