You are here

Council Members

The Royal Society of Biology Council act as the Trustees of the Society and consist of three Honorary Officers: President, Secretary and Treasurer. Four members are elected from the College of Individual Members and four are elected from the College of Organisational Members. Another four members can be appointed by Council to ensure coverage of the breadth of the life sciences based on skills gap amongst Council.

We currently have one vacancy in the College of Individual Members. Two further vacancies will be appointed by Council in Autumn 2016.

Biographies for all current members of the Royal Society of Biology Council

Details for committee: Council

Member Name
Professor David Blackbourn FRSB
Member Role
College of Organisational Members
Member Start Date
2014-05-15
Short Bio
David is head of the microbial and cellular sciences department at the University of Surrey. His research interests are centred on host-pathogen interactions, particularly in the context of oncogenic viruses. He has extensive experience in serving as a member of council and trustee for the Society for General Microbiology (SGM) and an ex officio SGM representative on the Federation of European Microbiology Societies. His term of office as general secretary of SGM concluded in September 2013. Prior to this role, David served as an elected member of Council from September 2007 and before that as an elected member of the SGM Virus Group committee (2003-2006). David has published over 60 research papers and reviews in virology and immunology. He has received major grant funding from Cancer Research UK, The Wellcome Trust, the MRC, BBSRC and the Royal Society.
Bio Last Updated
2013-09-03 16:17:45
Member Name
Dr Paul Brooker CBiol FRSB
Member Role
Council appointed
Member Start Date
2015-05-13
Short Bio
Paul studied Genetics at the University of East Anglia and it was there he joined the old Institute of Biology as a student member. He then moved on to University College London where, under the supervision of Professor Sam Berry (a former editor of The Biologist) he completed a PhD in genetics, working on cytogenetic variation in British house mice. Following postgraduate work he moved into industry, starting a currently unbroken 32 year stint at Envigo (formerly Huntingdon Life Sciences) one of the world’s largest pre-clinical contract research organisations. Beginning his work in the genetic toxicology group, Paul moved on to other scientific and business positions within the company, including Director of Toxicology, before taking up his current role of President, Contract Research Services, Europe, where he carries responsibility for science, compliance and business at Envigo’s CRS sites in the UK, Germany, Spain, Israel and Switzerland, involving 2200 scientific and technical staff and disciplines ranging from Toxicology, Pharmacology and Pathology to Environmental Sciences and various chemistry, biochemistry and bioanalytical groups. Paul has published papers on a variety of subjects, including evolutionary genetics, genetic toxicology, In vitro alternatives to animal studies and global regulatory requirements. He Chairs the pre-clinical drug safety advisory group of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical industry (ABPI) and was a member of the ABPI skills group which produced reports in 2005 and 2009. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the British Toxicology Society and a member of the Board of the NC3Rs.
Bio Last Updated
2015-11-09 13:28:24
Member Name
Professor Nigel Brown CBiol FRSB
Member Role
College of Individual Members (Chair)
Member Start Date
2016-05-12
Short Bio
Nigel trained in biochemistry (BSc, PhD) at the University of Leeds, and did postdoctoral research in Fred Sanger’s group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He was a lecturer in biochemistry, then Royal Society senior research fellow, at the University of Bristol, visiting fellow in genetics at the University of Melbourne, then professor of microbiology at the University of Birmingham. The majority of his work has been on understanding the response of bacteria to toxic metals. At Birmingham he was head of biological sciences and subsequently head of chemistry. In 2004 he moved to BBSRC as director of science and technology, with responsibility for the grants committees and the scientific strategy. He worked with other Research Councils and Government Departments. In 2008 he moved to the University of Edinburgh as the head of college of science and engineering and subsequently as senior vice-principal. He was chair of the deans of science and engineering in Scotland and a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council. He is immediate past President of the Microbiology Society and currently chairs a Research Council committee and a Research Institute Board. He was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2011 and awarded an OBE for Services to Science in 2014.
Bio Last Updated
2016-05-17 10:59:30
Member Name
Professor Julia Buckingham FRSB
Member Role
College of Organisational Members
Member Start Date
2009-04-01
Short Bio
Julia obtained a BSc in zoology and a PhD in pharmacology. Aside from a short spell in the pharmaceutical industry, she has worked in academia throughout her career, combining rher research on the neuroendocrine responses to stress with teaching and the broader aspects of academic life. Julia took up her post as Brunel University’s vice-chancellor and principal on 1st October 2012 and is the first woman to be appointed to the role. Prior to joining Brunel, Julia was pro-rector for education and academic affairs and director of the Centre for Integrative Mammalian Physiology and Pharmacology at Imperial College London where she also held the posts of professor of pharmacology, head of the division of neuroscience and mental health and college dean for Non-Clinical Medicine. She was previously employed at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, University of London, as professor of pharmacology, head of the department of pharmacology and assistant dean (preclinical). Julia has supported the work of learned societies throughout her career, roles include president of the British Pharmacological Society and president and chairman of the Society for Endocrinology. Currently Julia is a trustee of the Royal Institution, chairman (designate) of SCORE and a school governor.
Bio Last Updated
2013-09-03 16:34:23
Member Name
Professor John Coggins FRSB
Member Role
College of Organisational Members (Chair)
Member Start Date
2014-05-15
Short Bio
John is Emeritus professor of molecular enzymology and honorary senior research fellow in the School of Biology, University of Glasgow. He was formerly vice principal for the Faculties of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Clinical Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. His major research interests are the structure and mechanism of biosynthetic enzymes and the rational design and development of novel anti-microbial and anti-parasitic agents. John is a member of the Research Information Network Advisory Board, chairman of Portland Press, vice chairman of the Trustees of the Glasgow Science Centre and a member of the External Advisory Committee of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health. He was vice president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, treasurer of the Biosciences Federation, member of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee, member of the BBRSC Council and chairman of the UK Heads of Biological Science. John has a special interest in the knowledge transfer agenda and in science education and science communication.
Bio Last Updated
2014-10-01 16:41:44
Member Name
Professor Sir Pete Downes FRSB
Member Role
Council appointed
Member Start Date
2013-05-02
Short Bio
Peter is currently principal and vice chancellor at the University of Dundee. He he has played a key role in developing the life sciences to its current status as a global player making a significant impact on the Scottish economy and on the understanding and treatment of major diseases including diabetes and cancer. His work leading the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) with Sir Philip Cohen, led to one of the largest ever research collaborations between the pharmaceutical industry and a British university, which has been highlighted by the British Government as a model of best practice in technology transfer. In 2005 the DSTT was awarded the highly coveted Queen’s Anniversary Prize. Peter is one of the most cited bioscientists in the UK and has made important contributions to biochemistry over many years. He identified the mechanism of action for the drug lithium, used to treat manic depression, and has played a key role developing our understanding of intercellular communication through hormone and growth factors. In particular, he discovered a biochemical pathway that is the most common source of mutations leading to human cancers. For these discoveries he was awarded the Colworth Medal of the British Biochemical Society in 1987 and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1991 and the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010. He was also elected as chairman of the executive committee of the Biochemical Society 2001-04. He was honoured by the Queen with an OBE in 2004 and a Knighthood in 2015.
Bio Last Updated
2015-06-16 10:44:04
Member Name
Dr Pat Goodwin CBiol FRSB
Member Role
Honorary Treasurer
Member Start Date
2013-05-02
Short Bio
Pat obtained a BSc (physiology and biochemistry) and PhD (microbial biochemistry) from the University of Southampton. Most of her research career has been devoted to studying the biochemistry and genetics of methylotrophic bacteria, but she also did postdoctoral research in the department of clinical biochemistry, University of Surrey and at the University of Sussex, where she worked on DNA repair. She has 12 years’ experience of teaching part-time students studying for the membership of the Institute of Biology. In 1990 she joined the Wellcome Trust as manager of the molecular and cell panel. During her time at the Trust she has gained a broad experience of biomedical research. She has managed a wide range of funding committees and schemes, including the infection and immunity panel, the functional genomics development panel and capacity building initiatives in toxicology, biodiversity, medical microbiology, veterinary medicine and e-health. From 2003-2010 she was responsible for the operation and strategic direction of two funding streams, immunology and infectious disease, and populations and public health. She has experience of working in partnership with a variety of UK and international funding organisations. She retired from full time employment in January 2011 and is now a consultant to C3 Collaborating for Health. Pat has been an active member of the Society for General Microbiology, serving as convener of the education group (1990-1995), an elected member of council (1994-1995) and scientific meetings officer (1995-2000). She is a fellow of the Society of Biology and currently serves on the Society’s council and on the board of UK Biobank.
Bio Last Updated
2013-06-04 14:12:43
Member Name
Dr Kim Hardie FRSB
Member Role
College of Individual Members
Member Start Date
2015-05-13
Short Bio
Kim is an associate professor in molecular microbiology at the University of Nottingham. She directs the MSc in microbiology and immunology and convenes modules in bacterial pathogenicity for MSc and BMedSci students as well as providing pastoral support to the students. Educated at the University of Leicester and Cambridge, she undertook post doctoral research at the University of Victoria (Canada) and the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France), and a sabbatical at the CNRS (Marseilles, France). She has been awarded fellowships from FEBS, EMBO, BSAC, CNRS, and EMDA. Kim is reviews editor and acting editor in chief of the Journal of Medical Microbiology, and on the editorial board of Molecular Oral Microbiology. She has served on the council of the Society for General Microbiology, and is a member of their scientific meeting planning prokaryotic division. Kim's research interests lie in the mechanisms of action and secretion of bacterial protein virulence factors, as well as how they are regulated by cell-cell communication (quorum sensing) and how this impacts upon metabolism. She frequently acts as an external examiner for higher degrees both in the UK and abroad. Recent research linked to outreach activities aiming to reduce the spread of infections has led to licensing an interactive educational toy that has hit the media and the development of novel molecular techniques to identify pathogens that cause hospital associated infections.
Bio Last Updated
2013-06-04 14:08:54
Member Name
Professor Jackie Hunter FRSB
Member Role
Council appointed
Member Start Date
2016-11-01
Short Bio
Jackie Hunter is the chief executive officer of Benevolent Bio. BenevolentAI unites traditional pharmaceutical development methodology with Artificial Intelligence to augment the research capabilities of its drug scientists so that they can gain new insights to increase the efficiency of medicines development. Jackie has over 30 years' experience in the bioscience research sector, working across academia and industry including leading neurology and gastrointestinal drug discovery and early clinical development for GlaxoSmithKline. She founded OI Pharma Partners in 2010 to support the life science sector in harnessing the power of open innovation and most recently was chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). She holds a personal chair from St George's Hospital Medical School, which was awarded in recognition of her contribution to bioscience research. In 2010 she was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for Services to the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Bio Last Updated
2016-12-20 14:26:05
Member Name
Professor Patrick Hussey FRSB
Member Role
College of Organisational Members
Member Start Date
2016-05-12
Short Bio
Patrick holds the Chair of Plant Molecular Cell Biology in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham and recently took up the role of Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Science). He received his PhD in Biology from the University of Kent in association with the John Innes Centre, Norwich. After post-doctoral work at the University of Minnesota and the John Innes Centre, he took up a lectureship in Royal Holloway, University of London, where he was awarded a Personal Chair. Whilst at Royal Holloway he was also Warden of Founder’s Hall. Since 1983, he has been associated with the Society of Experimental Biology. In 2001 he became a Group Convenor for the Cell Section and then Head of the Cell Section in 2009. In 2013 he was elected as Vice-President of the Society and President for 2015-17.
Bio Last Updated
2016-06-22 17:06:18
Member Name
Professor Christopher Kirk CBiol FRSB
Member Role
Honorary Secretary
Member Start Date
2012-06-14
Short Bio
Until 2005, Chris Kirk was a research biochemist, deputy head of biosciences and deputy dean of health and life sciences at the University of Birmingham. His research interests included seminal work with Professor Bob Michell on inositol lipid signalling and later studies on the mechanism of action of environmental oestrogens. In June 2005, Chris became the chief executive of the Biochemical Society and he led that organisation’s support for the Bioscience Federation and its subsequent merger with the Institute of Biology to the Society of Biology. Together with the British Ecological Society and Society for Experimental Biology, Chris developed the plans to purchase and refurbish Charles Darwin House in 2009, thereby establishing what is now the home of the Society of Biology and nine other organisations in the life sciences. Chris has also held senior elected positions in local government and he was the chair of a major arts charity in Birmingham. He retired from his position at the Biochemical Society in June 2012 and he remains an honorary professor at the University of Birmingham.
Bio Last Updated
2013-09-23 17:32:11
Member Name
Dr Louise Leong FRSB
Member Role
Trustee - Council appointed
Member Start Date
2017-03-09
Short Bio
Louise is a life science professional specialising in R&D policy, strategy, funding, and public affairs. Her cross-sector career spans academia, private foundation, and industry. Before joining AstraZeneca in October 2014 as Director Science Relations Europe based in Global Corporate Affairs, Louise was Director of R&D Policy and on the Senior Leadership Team at the ABPI (Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry), where she ensured that a leading environment was maintained in the UK for the discovery and development of new innovative medicines, including co-creation of the Life Science Strategy, and initiation of a pan-UK strategy in Stratified Medicine. She has a particular interest at AstraZeneca in a strong science base, open innovation, evolving models of R&D & healthcare, big data and digital, and works with science stakeholders to enhance the policy environment and EU/UK competitiveness. Earlier in her career Louise was Science Director of Stem Cells for Safer Medicines, a public private partnership for which she developed the business case; covered science policy and the funding of biomedical science at the Wellcome Trust; and was responsible for fellowship, research and teaching appointments at Cambridge University. Louise has sat on numerous national and review committees, and served on industry bodies such as the European Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industry and Associations. Louise has collaborated with the RSB and its predecessor the Bioscience Federation for some years, forming a life science alliance on EU public affairs, and serving on the Employer Advisory Group. Louise obtained a PhD in Immunology from Cambridge University, a postgraduate degree in Business Management from the University of London, held a fellowship at Churchill College Cambridge, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Biology.
Bio Last Updated
2017-04-07 09:53:05
Member Name
Professor Richard Reece CBiol FRSB
Member Role
College of Individual Members
Member Start Date
2013-05-02
Short Bio
Richard is currently professor of molecular biology at The University of Manchester, and is also the associate vice-president for teaching, learning and students. He studied biochemistry at The University of Leeds and did his PhD work, studying the mechanism of action of DNA topoisomerases, at the University of Leicester. Upon completion of his PhD, he spent five years undertaking post-doctoral work at Harvard University, before returning to the UK as a lecturer, senior lecturer and then professor at The University of Manchester. His research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms by which cells are able to alter their patterns of gene expression in response to metabolic changes in the environment. This work has involved a mixture of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics and structural biology. Richard is deeply committed to raising the standards of teaching quality across higher education and to promoting the public understanding of science. He regularly gives talks, both in the UK and across the world, to school-aged science students and participates in numerous café scientifique-type public science events.
Bio Last Updated
2013-06-04 13:46:35
Member Name
Professor Dame Jean Thomas Hon FRSB
Member Role
President
Member Start Date
2014-05-15
Short Bio
Jean Thomas is professor emeritus of macromolecular biochemistry at the University of Cambridge and (until 30th September 2016) Master of St Catharine’s College – a position she has held for almost 10 years. Her research interests are in the structure, function and dynamics of chromatin (the complex of proteins and DNA that constitutes chromosomes) and chromatin-binding proteins. Jean was biological secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society (2008-2013), a governor of the Wellcome Trust (2000- 2007), President of the Biochemical Society (2001-2005), trustee of the British Museum (1994-2004), President of Techniquest Science Centre (2005-2008), and has served as a member of the Internal Merit Promotion Panel of the Research Councils (2000-2009; Chair from 2006), and previously, inter alia, on the Councils of SERC and EPSRC. Jean is currently a trustee of the Wolfson Foundation, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Council for Wales. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society (1986), a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (1982) and the Academia Europaea (1991), and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2002) and the Learned Society of Wales (2010), who awarded her the inaugural Frances Hoggan Medal in 2016. She holds Honorary Doctorates of the Universities of Wales, East Anglia and London, and Honorary Fellowships of Swansea, Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Swansea Metropolitan Universities. She is an Honorary Fellow of Darwin College and New Hall, Cambridge and of Worcester College, Oxford; an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple; and an Honorary Member of the Biochemical Society, the Biophysical Society and the Royal Society of Biology. In 1993 Jean became a CBE for services to science, and in 2005 a DBE for services to biochemistry.
Bio Last Updated
2016-11-30 14:26:40