Skip to content Skip to navigation

Ruth McKernan

Senior Vice President of Pfizer,

President of Icagen Inc., 
Chief Scientific Officer Neusentis Unit

Ruth McKernan is a Senior Vice President of Pfizer, President of Icagen Inc. and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Neusentis Unit. Based in Cambridge, UK, Neusentis is a consolidation of Pfizer’s Pain & Sensory Disorders and Regenerative Medicine & Epigenetics units.

Born in Scotland, Ruth graduated from the University of London with a first in biochemistry and pharmacology. She gained her PhD at London’s Institute of Psychiatry studying the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs. A Fulbright Scholarship took her to the University of California in San Diego for two years and thereafter Ruth joined the pharmaceutical Industry. In her 20 years of experience she has held many posts including Head of the Merck Neuroscience Research Centre in the UK.

Prior to leading Neusentis, Ruth was Site Head and Head of Research at the company’s former European R&D site in Sandwich, UK and before that held positions as Vice President of Biology in Sandwich, Head of the Research Technology Centre in Boston, MA and Vice President for External Research in Europe. She is a member of the UK board of Pfizer Ltd.

Ruth contributes broadly to further science outside of Pfizer. She sits on the Scientific Advisory Board for the British Neuroscience Association, the Advisory Board of the Cambridge Stem Cell Centre and the advisory group of the UK’s Cell Therapy Catapult Centre. She is a trustee of the ISRT and a visiting Professor at Kings College, London as well as a member of the Medical Research Council and Trustee of the International Spinal Research Trust. Thereafter she fits in as much gardening as can be squeezed into daylight hours.

In the scientific world, Ruth is best known for her neuroscience research on ligand-gated ion channels with over 130 publications and 15 patents. In the real world, she is better known for her first book, “Billy’s Halo,” which was short-listed for the 2007 MIND awards.

Return to Board of Directors