Research Group Cancer Drug Development

Dr. Aubry Miller / Dr. Nikolas Gunkel


The translation of new cancer research findings into novel therapeutics is of fundamental importance in the path toward A Life Without Cancer. The Cancer Drug Development Group takes the first step along this path: the discovery and development of small molecules with specific inhibitory profiles and phenotypic effects. These small molecule inhibitors can be used as research tools to help elucidate the role(s) that target proteins play in cancer, and can be starting points for more advanced drug development projects. Research projects in our group tackle topics such as target identification and validation, assay development for high throughput screening, chemical synthesis for inhibitor optimization and the development of chemical biology probes, and the establishment of cellular assays to profile our inhibitors. By collaborating with colleagues who are experts in basic, as well as, clinical research, we have established a unique academic drug discovery environment embedded in the scientific excellence of the DKFZ and NCT.


We aim to work on innovative targets with clear clinical significance, and on new targets/pathways whose roles in cancer have yet to be fully unraveled.

We are part of the Helmholtz Drug Research Initiative and the DKTK.


Dr. Aubry Miller / Dr. Nikolas Gunkel
Cancer Drug Development (A390)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 580
69120 Heidelberg

Dr. Aubry Miller
Tel: +49 6221 42 3307
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Dr. Nikolas Gunkel
Tel: +49 6221 42 3419
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Selected Publications

  • Geraldy, M. et al. “Selective Inhibition of Histone Deacetylase 10: Hydrogen Bonding to the Gatekeeper Residue is Implicated” J. Med. Chem. 2019, ASAP; DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b01936
  • De Vita, E. et al. “Depsipeptides Featuring a Neutral P1 Are Potent Inhibitors of Kallikrein-Related Peptidase 6 with On-Target Cellular Activity” J. Med. Chem. 2018, 61, 8859–8874.
  • Lohbeck, J., Miller, A. “Practical Synthesis of a Phthalimide-Based Cereblon Ligand to Enable PROTAC Development” Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2016, 26, 5260–5262.
  • Morgen, M. et al. “Spiroepoxytriazoles Are Fumagillin-like Irreversible Inhibitors of MetAP2 with Potent Cellular Activity” ACS Chem Biol. 2016, 11, 1001–1011.
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