Craig Crews

Member of Yale faculty since 1995
Executive Director, Yale Center for Molecular Discovery

Research Interests


Enzyme inhibition has proven to be a successful paradigm for pharmaceutical development, however, it has several limitations.  As an alternative, for more than 20 years, the Crews lab has focused on developing Proteolysis Targeting Chimera (PROTAC), a new ‘controlled proteolysis’ technology that overcomes the limitations of the current inhibitor pharmacological paradigm. Based on an ‘Event-driven’ paradigm, PROTACs offer a novel, catalytic mechanism to irreversibly inhibit protein function, namely, the intracellular destruction of target proteins. This approach employs heterobifunctional molecules capable of recruiting target proteins to the cellular quality control machinery, thus leading to their degradation.   A wide variety of targets (kinases, transcription factors, epigenetic readers) have been shown to be degradable with PROTACs at picomolar concentrations.  Moreover, the PROTAC technology has been demonstrated with multiple E3 ubiquitin ligases, included pVHL, MDM2, and cereblon.


B.A. University of Virginia, 1986
Ph.D. Harvard University, 1993
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 1993-95


BurroughsWellcome Fund New Investigator Award, 1996
Donaghue Foundation New Investigator Award, 1996
CaPCURE Research Award, 1996
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2005-
Bessel Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, 2005
Editor, Cell Chemical Biology (formerly Chemistry & Biology), 2008-2018
Lewis B. Cullman Professor of Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology, 2010
Senior Scholar Award, Ellison Medical Foundation, 2011
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2013
UCB-Ehrlich Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry, 2014
Member, Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, 2015
Outstanding Investigator Award (R35), National Cancer Institute (NIH), 2015
Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), 2017
Khorana Prize, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018
Pierre Fabre Award for Therapeutic Innovation, 2018
American Cancer Society Professorship, 2019
Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics, 2019
John C. Malone Professor of Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology, 2019-
Heinrich Wieland Prize, Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, 2020
Scheele Prize, Swedish Pharmaceutical Society, 2021 
Honorary Doctoral Degree, Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany, 2021   

Recent Publications