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Professor Eleanor Riley appointed to lead The Roslin Institute

Copyright: The Roslin Institute
News from: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
News from: The University of Edinburgh
News from: The Roslin Institute

Professor Eleanor Riley has been appointed to head the prestigious The Roslin Institute at The University of Edinburgh, which receives strategic investment from BBSRC.

She will take up the post later this year in succession to Professor David Hume.

Professor Riley is currently Professor of Infectious Disease Immunology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

With a background in veterinary medicine, human infectious diseases and global health, she has more than 30 years’ experience of research in the UK and Africa.

Professor Eleanor Riley said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead The Roslin Institute. Roslin is one of the world’s most respected veterinary research organisations with a longstanding, global reputation for excellence in improving animal health, welfare and production. I look forward to guiding the Institute to continued success and to strengthening research collaborations at home and abroad.”

The Roslin Institute is a UK National Institute of Bioscience. It carries out pioneering research in animal sciences with a particular focus on genetics and genomics, developmental biology, neurobiology and infection and immunity.

The institute is embedded within The University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, which has a strategic focus on integrating research on human and animal health.

Professor Sir John Savill, Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at The University of Edinburgh, said: “Professor Riley is an outstanding, internationally-respected scientist. She brings an impressive track record in leading major multi-partner projects in the UK and abroad. We are confident that her visionary leadership will cement The Roslin Institute as a global research leader in human and animal health.”

Professor Melanie Welham, BBSRC Chief Executive, adds, “BBSRC is delighted that Professor Riley will be leading The Roslin Institute. She is an outstanding scientist and particularly well qualified to drive the institute’s world-class research.”

Professor Riley graduated from the University of Bristol with degrees in Cellular Pathology and Veterinary Science, trained in Veterinary Pathology at Cornell University and holds a PhD in Immunology and Parasitology from the University of Liverpool.

She spent five years working at the Medical Research Council Laboratories in The Gambia before joining The University of Edinburgh’s Division of Biological Sciences as a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in 1990.

In 1998, she was appointed Professor of Infectious Disease Immunology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She led the School’s Department of Immunology and Infection from 2001-2013.

Her research interests include immunity to malaria and related infections, genetic susceptibility to infection, the biology of natural killer cells and immunological evaluation of vaccines.

Professor Riley is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Chairs the BBSRC’s Bioscience for Health Strategy Advisory Panel.

She succeeds Professor David Hume, who stepped down from the role of Director in January. Since then, Professor Bruce Whitelaw, the institute’s Head of Developmental Biology, has been serving as Acting Director.



BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £473 million in world-class bioscience, people and research infrastructure in 2015-16. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes.

External contact

Jen Middleton, Press and PR Office, The University of Edinburgh

+44 1316 506514


UK Research and Innovation Media Office

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