John Cavanagh

Senior Vice President, Discovery Sciences

John Cavanagh


  • PhD, Chemistry, University of Cambridge
  • BS, Chemistry, University of Surrey

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John Cavanagh, PhD, uses his background in research leadership and entrepreneurial vision to guide the use of translational science in the discovery sciences. His research focus is in protein structural biology, with particular interest in how bacteria protect themselves and treating opportunistic infections.

Previously, Dr. Cavanagh held the position of William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular & Structural Biochemistry at NC State University. While there he served as assistant vice chancellor for research and director of research development and was awarded the NCSU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Research Award. After co-founding Agile Sciences, Inc., in 2007, he was named the NC State University Entrepreneur of the Year. Agile Sciences delivers commercial solutions to those industries plagued by antibiotic resistance and biofilms—areas in which Dr. Cavanagh holds multiple patents.

Dr. Cavanagh was also the interim president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI), a nonprofit research institute at the North Carolina Research Campus that targets issues concerning human health, nutrition, and agriculture. The DHMRI serves as the campus’s core laboratory and as a contract research organization providing scientific services for university researchers, government agencies, and small and large industry partners.

Dr. Cavanagh has also worked as senior research associate at The Scripps Research Institute, director of NMR structural biology at the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center, associate professor of biomedical sciences at the State University of New York, and professor of chemistry at Purdue.

Dr. Cavanagh has been awarded the Foulerton Gift & Binmore Kenner Fellowship of the Royal Society, sits on the board of directors for the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research, and is director of the Jimmy V-NCSU Cancer Therapeutic Training Program. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed research publications and is co-author of the widely respected textbook “Protein NMR Spectroscopy.”