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SPI members' biographies

  • Last modified date:
    12 May 2011

(Chair) Prof Sir Gordon Duff

Florey Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Sheffield School of Medicine

Gordon Duff trained in Medicine at Oxford University and St Thomas's Hospital Medical School in London, where he also gained a PhD in neuropharmacology of the fever response. Following postgraduate medical training in the UK (including Clinical Pharmacology at the Hammersmith Hospital, London), post-doctoral periods in the Infectious Diseases Section at Yale University School of Medicine, and the Howard Hughes Institute of Cellular and Molecular Immunology at Yale, he joined the Medical Faculty of Edinburgh University in 1984 before taking up his present post, Florey Professor of Molecular Medicine at Sheffield, in 1990.

His research work is in the fields of immunology and genetics, and he is a founding editor of the international research journal 'CYTOKINE'. He is past-President of the International Cytokine Society and past-Chairman of the UK's Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) and its Subcommittee on Biological Medicines and Vaccines. Previous posts include Research Dean of the Medical Faculty, and Director of the Division of Genomic Medicine at Sheffield University. Currently, he is Chairman of the UK's National Biological Standards Board. In 2005, he was appointed inaugural Chairman of the UK's Commission on Human Medicines (CHM). He is an Honorary Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians and the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Peter Aggett

Representative of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)

Past Head of School, Lancashire School of Health and Postgraduate Medicine, Emeritus Professor of Child Health and Nutrition, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire.  Professor Aggett is interested in trace element metabolism in health and disease.   He has served on national and international advisory committees relating to clinical nutrition, public health and preventative medicine including nutritional safety and risk assessment, including the EC Scientific Committee on Food, the COT, ACNFP and EVM.  He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Nutrition and was a member of COMA for 7 years, is a past chair and secretary of the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition and is currently chair of the Standing Committee on Nutrition for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Dr Maureen Baker

General Practitioner, Honorary Secretary, RCGP

Dr Maureen Baker is an experienced general practitioner who now works mainly in the field of patient safety, although she retains a clinical commitment. She has a background in postgraduate educational and workforce research, service development and clinical governance. Her current work for NHS Connecting for Health is key to the safe and effective implementation of the National Programme for IT in the NHS. As a strategist and problem solver, she has had significant influence within the RCGP and the NHS. She is regarded as a thoughtful and effective policy maker and has considerable professional credibility with recognised influencing skills.

Over the previous two years, she has established the Clinical Safety Management System for NHS Connecting for Health. This approach ensures that IT products being delivered into the NHS are as safe as design and forethought will allow and minimises the chances of unforeseen adverse consequences for patient care. As Honorary Secretary of the RCGP Maureen Baker has had a clear leadership role within the discipline of general practice and in the wider profession. Within the RCGP she has championed issues relating to health inequalities; workforce; emergency planning; revalidation; and care of children, especially child protection.

Professor Sheila Bird

Principal Statistician at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit

Professor Sheila Bird is Principal Statistician at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit and visiting professor at Strathclyde University's Department of Statistics and Modelling Science. Sheila's statistical research interests and applications include: vCJD and BSE epidemiology (having estimated, by birth-cohort and gender, UK dietary exposure to BSE); incidence, progression and epidemic projection of blood-bone viruses (such HIV and Hepatitis C); illegal drugs epidemiology (including drugs-related deaths soon after release from prison); application of statistical method to criminal justice (for example, in determining cost-effective sentencing of injecting drug-users); cost-efficient designs using database linkage; and performance monitoring in the public services (targets versus formal experiments for 'evaluating' new policies).

Professor Bird chaired the Royal Statistical Society's Working Party on Performance Monitoring in the Public Services whose report 'Performance Indicators: Good, Bad, and Ugly' (reported in October 2003) and served on the RSS Working Party on 'Statistical issues in First-in-Man' studies (reported in March 2007). Both emphasised more attention to formal experimental design. She is Honorary Officer for External Relations and an RSS vice-President.

Recipient of the RSS's Guy Medal in Bronze (1989) and Bradford Hill Medal (2000), Sheila was awarded Fellowship by distinction of Faculty of Public Health of the UK Royal Colleges of Physicians (2005). Sheila served as first statistician-member of UK's appraisal committee for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (1999-2005), on the scientific committee of European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2001-2005), and on EU's ad hoc BSE/TSE subgroup which designed and monitored Europe's post-mortem surveillance of late stage TSEs in cattle and sheep. Sheila also contributed to the re-design of UK's surveillance for H5N1 in wild birds. Currently, she serves on Home Office's Scientific Advisory Group, and chairs its subgroup on Surveys, Design and Statistics

Dr Ian Brown

Director of OIE/FAO/EU international reference laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease. Head of Avian Virology and Mammalian Influenza, VLA-Weybridge, UK

Ian Brown is a designated OIE expert on Avian influenza and Newcastle Disease and member of the OFFLU laboratory network. He provides consultancy at both national and international level on these diseases, specialising in laboratory applications and their relevance to disease control. He has acquired a wide experience in Virology in over 30 years, primarily working on viral infections of poultry and pigs in both diagnostic and research laboratories. His team of 40 persons carry out diagnosis, surveillance and active programmes of research for avian virus diseases with strong emphasis on AI. In the role of an international reference laboratory they are proactively involved in provision of laboratory services to third countries including supply of reagents, expertise, and training. He and his team undertake research into the epidemiology, pathogenicity, transmission and control of influenza in animal hosts. It was for research into swine influenza that he gained his PhD in 1996. He has been active in developing formal European networks on swine influenza together with many associated international activities. He formally represents VLA on working groups concerned with international interaction between FAO, OIE and WHO. He has provided support to global initiatives and workshops through FAO/OIE/EU including membership of international missions on AI at the invitation of national governments. As a member of working groups of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare of the EU and as director of the EU community reference laboratory he has contributed to the preparation of scientific reports published by the EU commission and EFSA on these diseases. In addition, he is a member of the ACMSF Avian influenza working group.

Since 1998 he has been invited to give over 90 presentations all over the world, principally on influenza and has authored 140 publications predominantly on influenza.

Prof Janet Darbyshire

Director, Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit

Janet Darbyshire has been involved in the co-ordination of clinical trials since she joined the Medical Research Council in 1974 following clinical training in respiratory medicine. She was responsible for a programme of clinical trials in tuberculosis in Africa and epidemiological studies in the UK until 1989. Subsequently, she has been responsible for the MRC’s programme of clinical trials in HIV infection and AIDS. This has included clinical trials of the treatment of HIV and for the prevention of HIV, both vaccines and more recently vaginal microbicides. Since 1998, she has been the Director of the MRC Clinical Trials Unit, which runs trials in cancer, HIV/AIDS and in many other disease areas. The Unit also has a meta-analysis group, which undertakes individual patient data meta-analyses, particularly in cancer, a statistical methodology group and a clinical operations group. Janet is a member of many Trial Steering Committees and Data and Safety Monitoring Committees and has worked closely with the UK Trial Managers Network and with patient and carer groups, particularly in HIV infection and cancer. In 2005 she was appointed Joint Director, with Professor Peter Selby from the University of Leeds, of the UK Clinical Research Netwo

Professor John Edmunds

Head of the Modelling and Economics Unit, Health Protection Agency

Prof. John Edmunds has a PhD in modelling the transmission of infectious diseases from Imperial College, London and an MSc in Health Economics from the University of York. His work concentrates on the design of cost-effective intervention programmes against infectious diseases, taking account of the direct and indirect (sometimes called herd-immunity) effects of such programmes. He is the head of the Modelling and Economics Unit at the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections in London. He has co-authored over 100 peer-review articles, and acted as an advisor on national and international committees on a number of occasions on topics ranging from HPV vaccination to pandemic influenza. In 2008 he has taken up a Chair in Modelling Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr Meirion Evans

Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Public Health, Cardiff University; Hon. Regional Epidemiologist, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, National Public Health Service for Wales

Dr Meirion Evans is one of three medical epidemiologists at the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC) Wales. The unit is responsible for developing and running surveillance systems in Wales, and supporting UK surveillance. It also provides support for field investigation of outbreaks, training and education of professional colleagues, and providing advice on communicable disease policy and strategy matters to the Welsh Assembly Government. Dr Evans is also a senior lecturer in epidemiology and public health at Cardiff University where his research interests include disease outbreaks, immunisation and SARS.

Meirion has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens, Working Group on SARS, HPA Expert Advisory Group on Respiratory Viruses and HPA Influenza and Respiratory Virus Programme Board.

During the SARS outbreak in 2003 he was a member of two WHO Expert Teams to visit China (Beijing & Guangdong), an independent consultant on SARS to the Hong Kong Government, and a member of the Hong Kong SARS Expert Committee that subsequently reviewed the handling of the outbreak and made recommendations

Professor Neil Ferguson

Director, MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling, Imperial College

Professor Ferguson is the Director of MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling and holds the Chair in Mathematical Biology at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London. Prior to his appointment at Imperial, he held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford. He sits on the Home Office Steering Committee for CBRN Modelling and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Scientific Advisory Council.

Professor Ferguson uses mathematical and statistical models to investigate the processes shaping infectious disease pathogenesis, evolution and transmission. A key practical focus is advising on disease control policies in public health, clinical and veterinary contexts. As well as theoretical work on evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics, he also applies his work to a range of pathogens, including influenza, SARS, BSE/vCJD, HIV, foot-and-mouth disease and smallpox. While retaining an ongoing research interest in understanding pathogen diversity, he more recently has focussed on applying models as contingency planning tools for emerging infections (pandemic and avian influenza in particular) and bioterrorism.

Professor Ferguson's contribution to the field of infectious diseases epidemiology and outbreak control has been recognised with the award of an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 2001 and being elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2005.

Professor David Goldblatt

Head of the Immunobiology Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London

Professor David Goldblatt is Professor of Vaccinology and Immunology and Head of the Immunobiology Unit at the Institute of Child Health, University College London as well as a Consultant Paediatric Immunologist at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust. He is the Director of Clinical Research and Development for the joint Institution where he is also Director of the newly established National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Specialist Biomedical Research Centre. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, his Paediatric qualifications from the Royal College of Physicians (London) and a PhD in Immunology from the University of London, United Kingdom.

He has a long-standing interest in the immune response to vaccines and infectious diseases in childhood and has an active research programme studying bacterial conjugate vaccines, the kinetics of immunological memory, the molecular genetics of antigen specific B cells and cell mediated immunity to bacterial and viral vaccines. He is involved in clinical trials and basic science research projects in the United Kingdom and Africa and collaborates with colleagues in Europe, South East Asia and the USA. He is a regular advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on bacterial conjugate vaccines and is Director of the WHO Reference Laboratory for Pneumococcal Serology based at the UCL Institute of Child Health in London. He has been a member of the United Kingdom Department of Health Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation since 1997, has just finished a three year term on the UK MRC Infection and Immunity Board (ended October 2007) and was recently appointed as co-chairman of the Wellcome Trust Immunology and Infectious Disease Funding Committee panel (2007-2010).

Professor George Griffin

Head of the Dept of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases, St George's University of London Chair of Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens

Professor George Griffin is Head of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Infectious Diseases. He trained in clinical medicine and basic science at St. George's Hospital Medical School, Harvard University and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School. He was a Wellcome Trust Senior Lecturer at St. George's for eight years before he became Professor of Infectious Diseases and Medicine and has been pivotal with his team in building up Infectious Diseases to be known internationally for clinical and basic research.

Professor Griffin's interests centre around the host response to infection at cell, molecular and whole body level. He has studied such responses using tuberculosis and HIV as models. Furthermore, he has pioneered the use of vaccines as a way to study human immune responses, particularly during the course of HIV infection. Professor Griffin established the first human clinical vaccines trial centre at St. George's and it is in the background of this work that the two new Hotung Chairs and the establishment of the new HIV P3 facility have been made.

Professor Griffin has had many appointments on Wellcome Trust and MRC grants committees and recently was part of the Gates Grand Challenge grant awarding committee. In addition, he has recently been appointed Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens, responsible for advising the Government.

Dr Peter Grove

Senior Principal Analyst; Chair the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee's subgroup on modelling

Peter Grove is a graduate of Aberdeen University (having studied Natural Philosophy) and the University of Oxford (Thesis title - 'Quantum Field Theory in Curved Space Times').

Peter has periodically continued his research in theoretical physics, working at King's College London, Trieste and Brussels. His published work includes papers on the origin of the Hawking radiation from Black holes, the Unruh Effect, the detection of negative energy fluxes and the possibilities of changing history with time machines.

At the Ministry of Defence, Peter looked at methods of assigning research priorities, and wrote technical reviews for policy makers on subjects such as laser weaponry. He also worked on non-metric data analysis with Professor David Kendall at the Statistical Laboratory in Cambridge.

Working at the Home Office in collaboration with criminologists John Macleod and Professor David Farrington, Peter constructed a quantitative predictive theory of offending behaviour. He was also the main statistical advisor for the national evaluations of the effectiveness of CCTV and enhanced street-lighting in reducing crime. For many years, he was also the director of research computing.

At the Department of Health, he works mainly on analysis of pandemic influenza, risk assessments for vCJD transmission and emergency planning. One of his roles is to chair the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee's (SPI) subgroup on modelling.

Dr Grove's areas of expertise include mathematical modelling, statistical methodology, operational research and quantitative social science methodol

Professor Andrew Hall

Professor of Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Chair of JCVI

Professor Andrew Hall qualified in medicine at Guy's Hospital and trained in epidemiology at Southampton and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he is now Professor of Epidemiology. He is also honorary consultant epidemiologist, NHS London (Strategic Health Authority).
Professor Hall is Chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) and a non-executive Director of the Health Protection Agency. He has written numerous publications on vaccines. His main interests are teaching, prevention of liver cancer, vaccine preventable diseases and vaccination.

Dr Stephen Inglis

Director of the National Institute for Biological Standards Control (NIBSC)

Stephen Inglis is Director of the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), a UK Department of Health-sponsored scientific institute focused on assuring the quality of existing and new biological medicines through applied research on safety and efficacy issues, development of related methodologies and reference materials, and testing of manufactured products for release on to the market. NIBSC plays a key international role in both seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccine development. He serves on a number of advisory committees, including the Biologicals & Vaccines Expert Advisory Group of the Commission for Human Medicines, the Joint Vaccination and Immunisation Committee, and the Joint Professional Advisory Committee to the UK Blood Services.

Prior to joining NIBSC in 2002, he spent 12 years in the biotechnology industry. He was Research Director at Cantab Pharmaceuticals from 1995 and subsequently at Xenova following its merger with Cantab in 2001. From 1980-1990 he was a lecturer in virology at the Department of Pathology, Cambridge University specialising in the molecular biology of influenza virus infection. He trained in Biochemistry and received a Ph.D. in virology from Cambridge University in 1978.

Dr Steve Leach

Scientific Programme Head (Microbial Risk Assessment), HPA

Dr Leach obtained his first degree in biological science at Oxford University and his PhD in microbial physiology and epidemiology at Imperial College and Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response (CEPR, formerly CAMR). He has 25 years experience in microbiological research, heading up teams investigating the potential impacts of microbial pathogens on public health, including work on dangerous pathogens, bioterrorism, microbial risk assessment (MRA), statistical analysis and mathematical modelling. In his current role, he heads up a multidisciplinary team of epidemiologists, microbiologists, mathematicians and GIS and IT/Database specialists developing MRAs for bioterrorism, and new and emerging infectious disease problems. He is a member of the Society of General Microbiology, has sat on a number of Government department and agency advisory panels and workshops and has authored many reports on mathematical modelling and risk assessment for bioterrorism and emerging infectious disease issues.

Dr Simon Nicholas Mardel

Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Leicester Royal Infirmary

Dr Mardel originally qualified as an anaesthetist before changing to Accident and Emergency, and completed his specialty training in this in 1993. In 1998, he completed an MSc following studies at the Department of Public Health and Health Economics Research Unit in Aberdeen. While working for NGOs between his NHS posts he gained experience in West Africa dealing with Lassa Fever, and subsequently worked for WHO as a clinician in epidemics of Lassa, Marburg and Ebola haemorrhagic fevers.

During the SARS epidemic he again worked for WHO preparing infection control and clinical training material for these and other dangerous or newly emerging pathogens. In early 2006 he was part of a WHO team urgently responding to two clusters of human H5N1 Influenza in Azerbaijan. He is now a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Leicester Royal Infirmary and assisting this year in the World Bank Human Avian Influenza and Pandemic Preparedness project for Moldova.

Professor Susan Michie

Professor of Health Psychology, University College London

Susan Michie did her undergraduate and postgraduate training in experimental and developmental psychology at the University of Oxford and her clinical psychology training at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London. She is a chartered clinical and health psychologist, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the European Health Psychology Society, and past Chair of the BPS and past President of the EHPS.

She leads a health psychology research group at the BPS Centre for Outcomes Research & Effectiveness, University College London, studying the development and evaluation of theory-based interventions to change behaviour in relation to health. This is conducted in two domains: professional practice (e.g. the implementation of evidence-based guidelines) and risk factors amongst the general population (e.g. 'lifestyle' behaviours). Current projects include a hospital-based intervention to increase hand hygiene behaviours amongst staff, an intervention to increase the uptake of the MMR vaccination in the general population, and the design and evaluation of a community-based NHS Health Trainer behaviour change programme, targeting "hard to reach" groups. Her policy work includes a part-time secondment to the UK Department of Health to advise on public health policy and practice. She is a member of several DoH committees and is a member of NICE's Public Health Interventions Advisory Committee.

Dr Kevin Moreton

Research Management Group, Medical Research Council

Dr Kevin Moreton is the Board Programme Manager for the Medical Research Council’s Immunity and Infections Board. This Board is responsible for the MRC’s programmes and funding in basic, clinical and translational research applied to infectious human disease and to disorders of the human immune system. The Board's funding priorities include emerging infections, in particular potentially pandemic influenza.

Dr Moreton has been at MRC Head Office for 11 years and prior to that was an MRC post-doctoral fellow at MRC’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge for 2 years. Dr Moreton studied for his PhD at the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Sheffield University.

Dr Simon Nadel

Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Dr Simon Nadel is Consultant Paediatric Intensivist at St Mary's Hospital, London as well as Honorary Senior Lecturer at Imperial College School of Medicine. Apart from his clinical work, he has a major research interest in the pathophysiology and management of serious infections in children. He has been involved in design of paediatric studies of oseltamivir for seasonal influenza.

Dr Nadel is Chairman of the Education and Science Committee of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society and Clinical Director for Women's and Children's Services at St. Mary's Hospital. He is associate editor of Intensive Care Medicine and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

Professor Angus Nicoll

Influenza Co-ordination, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm

On secondment, supported by UK Government and the Health Protection Agency UK (employer) where he was the Director of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC). Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Child Health, London.

Dually trained in paediatrics and public health in the UK. Lived and worked in Africa (Tanzania) 1987-91 establishing a continuing STI research and intervention programme including a large randomised community trial demonstrating that enhanced detection and treatment in primary care could significantly reduce heterosexual HIV transmission. With the UK Public Health Laboratory Service / Health Protection Agency 1991 to present becoming head of HIV & STD Division in the CDSC before becoming its Director (2000-5).

As Director of CDSC led its response to threats post September 11th for which was awarded CBE. During the SARS outbreaks of 2003 led the CDSC response and chaired WHO meetings that reviewed the initial epidemiology and control measures for SARS. Worked extensively in China as a consultant for the World Bank in developing the response to SARS, bird flu and other threats.

In the preparation for pandemic influenza chaired the WHO group that considered public health measures against influenza in 2004. Led or contributed significantly to WHO-Missions to Viet Nam, Hunan Province, China and Turkey investigating clusters of human H5N1 and advising on the response.

As secondee to ECDC (2005-9, is a senior expert in the Scientific Advice Unit (Head Prof Johan Giesecke) and coordinates ECDC's extensive activities on influenza. Co-designed ECDC's published procedure for assisting EU/EEA countries in undertaking pandemic preparedness self-assessments and led seven such missions. Was the main writer of ECDC's reports of pandemic preparedness in the EU/EEA countries in 2006/7 and 2007/8. Most recently led ECDC's response to the appearance of antiviral resistant human viruses in Europe. Is responsible for technical liaison with countries in the WHO-Western Pacific Region (China, Viet Nam etc). On a number of international committees especially those of WHO (Headquarters and Western Pacific and South East Asia Regions) concerning revisiting of pandemic planning.

Professor Karl Nicholson

Professor and Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases, University of Leicester

Dr Babatunde Olowokure

Consultant Epidemiologist, Health Protection Agency Regional Surveillance Unit, West Midlands

Dr. Babatunde Olowokure is a consultant epidemiologist with the Health Protection Agency Regional Surveillance Unit (West Midlands) based in Birmingham. He is also Director of the Health Protection Research and Development Unit, University of Birmingham. Dr. Olowokure is also a member of the Faculty of Public Health International Committee.

Dr. Olowokure received a medical degree from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria and completed his training in public health medicine in the UK. He also received a masters of public health and epidemiology from the University of Birmingham and a PhD from the University of Warwick. He has published widely on communicable disease surveillance and epidemiology, has participated in several important global outbreak investigations including SARS and human avian influenza (H5N1) and been involved in pandemic preparedness activities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr. Olowokure was seconded to the World Health Organization (WHO), Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response, Global Alert and Response, Geneva, Switzerland in 2002. He worked with colleagues in the Programme for Chemical Safety (PCS) to set up the global public health Chemical Surveillance, Alert and Response Network (ChemiNet) for chemical incidents of international public health concern. While in Geneva he also helped develop revisions to the International Health Regulations (IHR), was a member of a team sent to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to investigate an outbreak of an unexplained illness and was seconded to the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) Manila, Philippines to provide strategic support for WHO efforts to investigate and control the emerging H5N1. During 2003 he travelled to Taiwan, China to lead a WHO team during the global SARS outbreak. In 2004 he spent three months in Fiji as the head of the WHO, Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response (CDS) team prior to joining the HPA in 2004.

Dr. Olowokure took a 5-month leave of absence in 2006 to join the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office Manila, Philippines as the acting Regional Adviser, CDS. The responsibilities of this unit included regional avian influenza surveillance, working with WHO, public health colleagues and others worldwide to develop recommendations, guidance and capacity building activities related to public health responses to avian influenza and addressing pandemic preparedness issues.

Professor Peter Openshaw

Professor of Experimental Medicine, Imperial College London; Director of the Centre for Respiratory Infections Research

Peter Openshaw is the Director of the Centre for Respiratory Infections (CRI) at Imperial College London, Head of the Section of Respiratory Infections of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Professor of Experimental Medicine and Honorary Physician in the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the St Mary's Campus of the Imperial College NHS Trust.

He trained at Guy's Hospital, the Brompton and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (Hammersmith). His PhD training with Ita Askonas FRS at the National Institute for Medical Research (1985-1988) lead to a Wellcome Senior Fellowship and the creation of the Academic Department of Respiratory Medicine at St Mary's in 1988. The department now has three professors (Peter Openshaw, Sebastian Johnston and Ajit Lalvani) and over 60 members of staff. The department was completely refurbished in 2002-3 (JIF award). He was the principal applicant on a strategic award for a Centre in Respiratory Infections (Wellcome Trust, £3.4m, 2008-2010). The CRI will launch on the 2nd June 2008 and is focused on: (1) respiratory viral epidemics (pandemic flu etc), (2) common colds, (3) tuberculosis and (4) bacterial pneumonias.

His research is on the immunology of the lung, viral lung disease, vaccination and immunopathogenesis of viral disease. He was among the first 100 elected Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999). He served on Wellcome Trust's Clinical Interest Group (1997-2003), Infection and Immunity (2002-2004) and the Tropical and Clinical Panels (2006-2008), and is now on the Immunology and Infectious Diseases panel. He has served on many other national and international grant award bodies. He became a member of British Society for Immunology's Council in 2006, and a member of the Department of Health's Scientific Advisory Group on Pandemic Influenza in December 2007.

Professor Robert Read

Professor of Infectious Diseases, University of Sheffield

Robert Read is Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases to the Central Sheffield University Hospitals. He is Chairman of the Professional Affairs Committee and Executive member of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases as well as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Infection. Professor Read is also a member of Department of Health advisory groups on HIV and Infectious Diseases as well as the advisory group on Biologicals and Vaccines. Professor Read is a member of the Chief Medical Officers Working Group on Pandemic Influenza. He co-authored the HPA/BTS/BIS Pandemic Influenza Clinical Guidelines and the joint BIS/BTS/HPA guidelines for the management of SARS.

Professor Read has an active research programme focussing on bacterial pathogenesis and vaccine development/evaluation.

Dr Jeremy Russell

Director of R and D, Smiths Medical International (SMI)

Jeremy Russell joined Smiths in 1999 as R&D Director for Portex Ltd. and is now R&D Director for SMI Ltd, managing R&D teams in the UK, Germany and the USA. He currently has responsibility for R&D for Airway Management, Ventilation, Invasive Blood Pressure Monitoring, Central Venous Catheters, Chest Drainage and Women's Healthcare products across Smiths Medical. During his time with Smiths, he has held various roles including the management of manufacturing facilities.

Prior to working for Smiths, he spent nine years with Biocompatibles, a coatings and medical device company. He held various positions within the business including Technical Director of the Urology Division. Between 1985 and 1990 he worked for Glaxo as a Senior Radiochemist within the Chemical Development Division.

Jeremy has a degree in Chemical Sciences from University of Leeds, and a PhD in Biological Chemistry from the University of Surrey. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Dr Andrew Singer

Senior Scientific Officer, Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford

Dr Andrew Singer is Senior Scientific Officer at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley where he gained a B.A. in anthropology followed by a PhD in Soil and Water Science at the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on understanding the link between the by-products of human activity (e.g. pollution, waste, agriculture, etc.) and human and environmental health. His current research includes pandemic/epidemic-linked ecotoxicologic risks.

Dr Singer has written and presented papers on the potential human and environmental risks associated with the proposed widespread use of Tamiflu during an influenza pandemic.

Sir John Skehel

Retired as Director of the NIMR in 2006

Working for the past 30 years on the influenza virus, Sir John led the team that first deciphered the molecular detail of how the flu virus latches on to and infects a cell, and subsequently how the virus evolves to stay one step ahead of the immune system.

By visualising the key viral surface protein, haemagglutinin (HA), which is responsible for docking with the target cell, Sir John was able to show how the virus fuses with the cell membrane. He found that flu virus uses a pH-controlled system, which triggers a large structural change in HA to unveil a special fusion protein that latches onto the cell. Sir John also demonstrated that this fusion process is used by viruses such as HIV, a discovery which has helped to develop antiviral drugs that interfere with this mechanism.

Sir John led a team of MRC scientists in mapping the structure of the HA from the strain of influenza responsible for the 1918 pandemic, which globally killed more than 20 million people. Researchers at outbreak surveillance centres around the world hope that knowledge of the structure will provide valuable clues in determining whether new variants of the virus have killer potential.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam

Professor of Health Protection, University of Nottingham

Jonathan Van-Tam, graduated in Medicine from the University of Nottingham in 1987. After 5 years of clinical medicine, he pursued an academic training in public health and epidemiology and developed a special interest in influenza and respiratory viruses. He became a Senior Lecturer at the University of Nottingham in 1997 before joining the pharmaceutical industry as an Associate Director (anti-infectives) at SmithKline Beecham in 2000. In April 2001 he moved to Roche as Head of Medical Affairs, before joining Aventis Pasteur MSD in February 2002 as UK Medical Director. He returned to the public sector in 2004 at the HPA Centre for Infections, where he was Head of the Pandemic Influenza Office until October 2007. Jonathan has now returned to Nottingham as Professor of Health Protection. Over the years, he has published almost 100 scientific papers and written several chapters in textbooks. His specialist subject is influenza and pandemic preparedness. He has recently chaired the ECDC Expert Advisory Group on H5N1 human vaccines, which reported its findings in September 2007.

Dr Alison Webster

Director of the Infectious Diseases Medicines Development Centre, GlaxoSmithKline

Dr Alison Webster is Director of Infectious Diseases Medicines Development Centre at GlaxoSmithKline, where her role is to develop and implement the strategy for the clinical development of several antibiotics and antivirals. Her experience in the influenza area has encompassed design of clinical studies with zanamivir, interpretation and publication of results, authoring of dossiers for regulatory submission, and interactions with regulatory agencies in the assessment of safety and efficacy of this product

In the context of pandemic planning, she has represented the company and given presentations at meetings with the WHO, EFPIA and IFPMA. Within the UK, she has led the clinical component of GSK's submission to NICE for the appraisal of zanamivir, and submitted oral evidence to the committee preparing the Royal Society/Academy of Medical Sciences report on pandemic influenza in 2006.

Dr Webster is also Honorary Lecturer in Medical Virology at Imperial College London.

Professor Lucy Yardley

Professor of Health Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Southampton; Editor-in-Chief, Psychology and Health

Professor Lucy Yardley has a particular interest and expertise in psychological responses to a flu pandemic as she is currently leading the development of a website to change behaviour in order to reduce the risk of transmission of infection in the event of a pandemic. This programme of work specific to pandemic flu forms part of a larger programme of research led by Professor Yardley into a) attitudes of the general population to preventive health measures and b) development and evaluation of brief, easily disseminated interventions to change behaviour.

Lucy Yardley is currently Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Southampton, Head of the Centre for Clinical Applications of Health Psychology, and Editor-in Chief of Psychology and Health (journal of the European Health Psychology Society). She has authored over 120 publications, including more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, the majority first-authored, and in highly respected journals, resulting in a total of more than 1000 citations on Web of Science. She has been principal or co-investigator on over £4 million of externally funded research from peer-reviewed funding sources (funding bodies include MRC, ESRC, DH, NIHR, EC, Wellcome Trust, other medical charities). She carries out advisory work for numerous bodies, including advising the Department of Health (DH) on the development and evaluation of NHS LifeCheck, and membership of grant award boards for CRUK and DH and the MRC Council of Experts. She has expertise in a very wide range of methodologies, including an international reputation for qualitative and mixed methods research, experience of leading several successful clinical trials and evaluations of preventive interventions, and published high quality research in epidemiology, questionnaire development and validation, large-scale surveys, multivariate analysis of determinants of behaviour, and experimental neurophysiology.

Prof Maria Zambon

Deputy Director of Virology Reference Division, Health Protection Agency

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