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Council

UKRI-BBSRC Council is responsible for advising and making decisions, as delegated to it by the UK Research and Innovation Board, on scientific, research and innovation matters.

These responsibilities include:

  • The leadership of their discipline area or fields of activity, including the prioritisation of budgets within their delegated remits and the development of delivery plans
  • Ensuring the future of skilled specialists, researchers, scientists and others essential to the sustainability of the UK’s research and innovation capacity
  • Engaging with their community to develop ideas, raise awareness and disseminate strategic outputs
  • Encouraging and facilitating collaborative work across the nine UKRI Councils to foster strategic relationships

Members
Meeting dates and minutes


Members

Steve Bagshaw

Steve is non-executive Chairman of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies - one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organisations. He was CEO from 2014 to 2020 and prior to that the UK President and Managing Director for seven years.

He is a non-executive director at the Centre for Process Innovation - a leading technology and innovation centre and founding member of the UK government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult. He serves on the board as a non-executive director at Arcinova - a fast growing pharmaceutical and biotech contract manufacturing and development company based in Northumberland. Since April 2020 he has been supporting the Government’s Vaccine Task Force as an Industrial Advisor.

He is Chair of the UK Industrial Biotechnology Forum - bringing together government, industry, academia, and the funding agencies as a community - focusing on investment and growth. He is Co-Chair of the UK Bioeconomy Governance Group which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the UK's bioeconomy strategy, launched in 2018. He chairs the Industrial Advisory Board at the National Horizons Centre in Darlington.

He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers having graduated as a chemical engineer from UMIST (Manchester) and is the recipient of the 2020 Peter Dunnill Award for outstanding contribution to UK bioprocessing. He was recognised by his peers as North East England Business Executive of the Year in 2017.

Term starts: 01 January 2021

Professor Ewan Birney

Copyright: The Royal Society

Ewan Birney is Director of EMBL-EBI, and runs a small research group. He played a vital role in annotating the genome sequences of human, mouse, chicken and several other organisms. He led the analysis group for the ENCODE project, which is defining functional elements in the human genome. Ewan’s main areas of research include functional genomics, assembly algorithms, statistical methods to analyse genomic information (in particular information associated with individual differences) and compression of sequence information.

Ewan completed his PhD at the Wellcome Sanger Institute with Richard Durbin. He has received a number of prestigious awards including the 2003 Francis Crick Award from The Royal Society, the 2005 Overton Prize from the International Society for Computational Biology and the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award for contributions in Open Source Bioinformatics. Ewan was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 2014 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

Ewan is a non-executive Director of Genomics England, and is a consultant and advisor to a number of companies, including Oxford Nanopore Technologies and GSK. He is also the Chair of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH).

Term ends: 31 March 2022

Mr John Bloomer

John has over 30 years’ commercial experience in international research-based agribusiness, 25 years of which were in senior management and leadership roles in the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds businesses of ICI, Zeneca and Syngenta.

Since 2012 he has been an independent consultant and adviser within the international agricultural technology industry, bringing his experience in strategy, sales and marketing, R&D, licensing, mergers & acquisitions, creating and managing joint ventures and initiation of public-private partnerships to a wide range of clients around the world.

John has a strong network within the international agricultural research and technology sector and is also a Non Executive Director of Elsoms (Spalding) Ltd (a leading UK seed and plant breeding business) and of Crop Health and Protection Ltd (one of the UK Agri-tech Centres).

John has a Masters degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford, and is a Trustee of a number of charitable organisations.

Term ends: 31 March 2023

Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith FRS FMedSci

Anne Ferguson-Smith is the Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics and Head of the Department of Genetics at the University of Cambridge. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at Yale University. For the nearly three decades, her team has studied mammalian developmental genetics, epigenetic inheritance, and the epigenetic control of genome function. Her current research applies experimental, computational and bioinformatics approaches to contemporary questions in mammalian functional genomics and epigenetics with particular relevance for environment and disease. She is a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, elected member of EMBO, a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Term starts: April 2021

Professor Laura Green

Professor Green is an epidemiologist whose research is in endemic diseases of farmed livestock, taking a multidisciplinary approach working with biologists, mathematicians and psychologists to understand disease processes and control and adoption of changes in practice by end users. She has collaborated with scientists and knowledge exchange providers to improve the health and welfare of livestock. She was awarded the Royal Agricultural Society research medal in 2013 and an OBE for services to the health and welfare of farmed livestock in 2017.

She is currently Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of College at the University of Birmingham and an advisor to the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was Chair of the BBSRC Agriculture and Food Strategy panel and a member of the UoA6 panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

Term ends: 31 March 2022

Professor Gideon Henderson

Gideon is a geochemist working to understand the ocean, the carbon cycle, and the long-term operation of the climate system. His research falls into two main areas - making novel measurements on natural archives to quantify climate processes important for future change (such as sea level, rainfall patterns, permafrost stability); and the chemistry of the modern ocean, including study of the carbon cycle, nutrient metals, contaminants, and tracers used to assess ocean processes.

Gideon helped initiate the international programme which has revolutionised knowledge of the chemical cycling of metals in the ocean, and was co-chair of this programme for its first decade. He is a Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences (of which he was Head for 2013-17) at the University of Oxford. He also holds a senior research fellowship at University College Oxford, and an associate position at Columbia University, USA.

Gideon was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013, now serves on the Royal Society Science Policy Committee, and has contributed to recent policy work in subjects including ocean resources and greenhouse gas removal.

Professor Martin Humphries

Martin Humphries is Professor of Biochemistry at The University of Manchester. He carried out postdoctoral research at the Howard University Cancer Center, Washington, D.C., USA and at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA. In 1988, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship to return to Manchester. In 1995, he progressed to a Principal Research Fellowship and co-founded the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, which he directed from 2000-2009. From 2008-2016, he was Vice-President & Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences. Professor Humphries is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and The Royal Society of Biology, and a member of Academia Europaea. He has served as Chair of the Biochemical Society and Vice-President of the Academy of Medical Sciences. The long-term aim of the research conducted in his laboratory is to elucidate the mechanisms by which adhesion controls cell behaviour. A current focus is the ternary connection between extracellular matrix rigidity, signals transduced by adhesion receptor-associated complexes and cell cycle progression.

Term ends: 31 March 2022

Professor Andrew Millar

Andrew Millar is an interdisciplinary biologist with a longstanding interest in 24-hour biological rhythms and over 120 peer-reviewed publications. Andrew was elected an EMBO member, FRS and FRSE in 2010-2013 for his research on the biological clock in plants, which integrates experimental genetics and molecular biology, plant physiology, ‘omics, mathematical modelling and computer science. Andrew grew up in Luxembourg and studied Genetics at the University of Cambridge, followed by a Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Genetics at The Rockefeller University, New York. After postdoctoral research at the NSF Center for Biological Timing in Virginia, he joined The University of Warwick. Growing interest in systems and synthetic biology contributed to a move to The University of Edinburgh in 2005, where he co-founded and directed the SynthSys research centre (2007-2012). His past roles include serving as Director of Systems Biology for the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (2007-2009), and P.I. for GARNet (2004-2009), which represents roughly 200 laboratories of the UK‘s Arabidopsis research community. He currently serves as Director of Research for Biological Sciences at The University of Edinburgh, and his interests include research data management and macro-economic impacts on science. He is also on the Board of Directors for James Hutton Institute.

Term ends: 31 March 2024

Professor Christine Orengo FRS

Christine Orengo is a Professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at University College London, whose core research has been the development of robust algorithms to capture relationships between protein structures, sequences and functions. She has built one of the most comprehensive protein classifications, CATH, used worldwide by tens of thousands of biologists, and central to many pioneering structural and evolutionary studies. CATH structural and functional data for hundreds of millions of proteins has enabled studies that revealed essential universal proteins and their biological roles, and extended characterisation of biological systems implicated in disease e.g. in cell division, cancer and ageing. CATH functional sites have revealed protein residues implicated in enzyme efficiency and bacterial antibiotic resistance. This data also identified genetic variations likely to be driving human diseases and the drugs that can be repurposed to offset the pathogenic effects. 

Christine is a President Elect of the International Society of Computational Biology (ISCB). She is a co-founder and leader of the ELIXIR European 3D-BioInfo Community in Structural Bioinformatics and co-chair of the Genomics England Functional Effects Domain. Christine is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, an Elected Member of EMBO since 2014, and a Fellow of ISCB since 2016. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2019. 

Term starts: 01 April 2021

Professor Nigel Scrutton FRS

Nigel is Professor of Enzymology and Director of the EPSRC UK Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub and the BBSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre 'SYNBIOCHEM'. He is also a Founding Director of the fuels-from-biology company C3 BIOTECH Ltd and its subsidiary company C3 BIOTECH (Maritime and Aerospace) Ltd. He is former Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (2010-2019), recognised by the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education (2018-20). 

Nigel is a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was appointed Professor at the University of Manchester in 2005, where he was Associate Dean for Research prior to appointment as MIB Director.

He graduated from King's College, University of London and gained his ScD and PhD degrees at St John's College, University of Cambridge as a Benefactor’s Scholar. He was a Research Fellow at St John’s, and awarded the Henry Humphrey's Research Prize. He was also Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge.

Nigel's group is noted for its work on enzyme catalysis, covering quantum tunnelling, mechanistic and structural biology, synthetic biology, and bio-based chemicals/fuels manufacture. His work is interdisciplinary and is supported by a world-leading infrastructure for biophysical chemistry and synthetic biology that he has established at Manchester. 

Term starts: April 2021

Professor Malcolm Skingle

Malcolm has BSc in Pharmacology/Biochemistry and a PhD in Neuropharmacology. He has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 40 years and gained a wide breadth of experience in management of research activities. Part of his former role as a research leader in a Neuropharmacology department involved co-supervising collaborations with academics in the UK, Europe and USA. He has over 60 publications including articles on the interface between industry and academia.

He coordinates Academic Liaison at GSK, managing staff in the US and UK. His role involves close liaison with several groups outside the Company for example government departments, research and funding councils, biotechnology companies and other science-driven organisations. He sits on many external bodies including the HEFCE REF Main Panel A and the BPS Council. He also chairs several groups including the Diamond (Synchrotron) Industrial Advisory Board, the Science Industry Partnership for apprenticeships and the ABPI group working on academic liaison.

Malcolm was awarded a CBE in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his contribution to the pharmaceutical industry as well as an Honorary Professorship from the University of Birmingham and an honorary DSc from the University of Hertfordshire. Malcolm was elected as a Fellow into the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London in 2011.

Term ends: 31 March 2022

Professor David Stephens

David is Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Bristol. Following postdoctoral work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, in 2001 he moved to the University of Bristol as an MRC Non-Clinical Research Fellow and was appointed to his current role in 2010. David has had held key leadership roles within the University of Bristol including as Research Director for the School of Biochemistry and as Chair of the Steering Group for the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility. With BBSRC, David has worked on several peer review and advisory panels, including as Chair of Research Committee D and as a member of Research Advisory Panel. Additional roles have included serving on committees of both the British Society for Cell Biology and Royal Microscopical Society as well as editorial work for several journals. His own research in Bristol is centred on understanding the molecular mechanisms of cell organisation and function, notably using advanced microscopy methods to probe membrane and cytoskeleton dynamics. David’s work includes multidisciplinary approaches integrating chemistry, physics, and mathematics with biology, as well as close collaboration with clinical colleagues to understand how these normal cellular functions fail in disease.

Term ends: 31 March 2022

Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu

Ijeoma Uchegbu is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Nanoscience. She has studied the mechanisms of drug transport across biological barriers and created transformational drug transport nanoparticles. She was the first to show that peptides could be delivered across the blood brain barrier to elicit a pharmacological response, when presented as peptide drug nanofibers and the first to demonstrate, via definitive pharmacology and pharmacokinetics evidence, peptide transport into the brain, using peptide nanoparticles delivered via the nose to brain route. These findings led to the enkephalin pain medicine candidate (NES100), designed to address the opioid crisis. In preclinical studies, NES100 showed no analgesic tolerance, reward seeking behaviour or potential to cause significant constipation. NES100 has been out licensed to Virpax Pharmaceuticals and is currently being developed by the US National Center for Advancing Translational Studies. If successful, this will be the first neuropeptide medicine approval and it will have been made possible by the innovation originating in Uchegbu’s group. The technology underpinning NES100 won first prize in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies competition in 2017 and the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences Science Innovation Award in 2016. Three other medicine candidates based on this nanotechnology have been out-licensed to pharmaceutical companies in the US. Uchegbu’s work has been funded continuously for 21 years by the EPSRC. As UCL’s Pro Vice Provost for Africa and the Middle East, Uchegbu leads on ther international research and teaching engagement strategy in this region. She has served as Chair of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences and chaired EPSRC and Science Foundation Ireland grant prioritisation panels. She is UCL Provost’s Envoy for Race Equality and leads on race equality work at UCL. Her initiatives (e.g. Dean’s Pledges on Race Equality) were instrumental in achieving UCL’s Bronze Race Charter in 2020.

Term starts: January 2021


Meeting dates and minutes

2022

  • 16 March
  • 15 June
  • 14 September
  • 14 December

2021

  • 9 March
  • 16 June
  • 14 September
  • 7 December

2020

2019

2018