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BBSRC announces new Council members

BBSRC announces new Council members - 11 April 2014. iStock

Five new members have been appointed to the Council of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts. One member has also been reappointed.

The new members are:

  • Doctor Neil Brewis
  • Professor Richard Cogdell
  • Professor Margaret Dallman
  • Professor Judith Petts
  • Professor Helen Sang

The appointments are with affect from 1 April 2014 and will run until 31 March 2018.

The current member of BBSRC Council that has been reappointed is David Gregory (reappointed to Council until 31 March 2018).

BBSRC Chair, Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS, said: "I am pleased to welcome the new members to BBSRC Council during its 20th anniversary. As we look back on our achievements over the last two decades, it is clear that our new and reappointed council members have played an important role in shaping the UK's world-leading bioscience landscape. I am delighted that their academic and commercial expertise will help to further enhance BBSRC's capabilities in the coming years."

Doctor Neil Brewis

Neil Brewis is Vice President, Head of Biopharmaceutical Research in GSK. Neil has an established career working in bioscience, demonstrating leadership in translating basic research into clinical studies. Before joining GSK, Neil was Head of Research at Domantis Ltd with responsibility for discovery and technology work on human domain antibodies. Domantis was acquired by GSK in 2007. Prior to joining Domantis in 2002, he was a research associate at Phogen, a joint venture between Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Xenova Group, which exploited the gene therapy and protein delivery potential of the transporting properties of the HSV VP22 protein. From 1994 to 1997 he was at the University of California, San Diego researching signal transduction in cancer. He has a PhD from Dundee University in Biochemistry on protein dephosphorylation.

Professor Richard Cogdell

Professor Richard Cogdell is currently the Hooker Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow, Director of the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology and Deputy Head of the College of the Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences. Professor Cogdell has considerable experience in translating bioscience research into impact. Since the early 1970's Richard has been involved in research on bacterial photosynthesis. He is now increasingly concentrating on using the information gained from his research to devise ways of using solar energy to produce fuels. To this end, he, together with Lee Cronin in the School of Chemistry at Glasgow, have founded the Glasgow Solar Fuels Initiative. This work involves a wide range of collaborations both within the University and in the USA, Japan, Germany, Poland and Italy. Richard is also a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Professor Margaret Dallman

Professor Maggie Dallman is Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London. Professor Dallman's own work uses a range of organisms from zebrafish to humans to study at the molecular, cellular and whole individual level not only the basis for diseases involving dysregulated immunity and inflammation, but also potential approaches to therapy. Maggie currently chairs the BBSRC Basic Sciences Underpinning Health Strategy Panel, sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute for Animal Health, is a Director of the Board and Trustee of the Francis Crick Institute and is a Board member of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research.

Professor Judith Petts

Professor Judith Petts is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the University of Southampton. Judith was previously Dean of Faculty for Social and Human Sciences at the university, and Pro-Vice Chancellor Research & Knowledge Transfer at the University of Birmingham. A geographer by background, Professor Petts' research and mode of working has always been intensely interdisciplinary. Over 30 years her research has made important contributions in the broad area of risk management including environmental governance and policy-making, environmental assessment, science-society relationships, and public perceptions and engagement. Judith has broad experience engaging with government and policy advisory in government including as a member of Council for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and of the Royal Commission on Environment Pollution. She is currently a member of Defra's Science Advisory Council.

Professor Helen Sang

Professor Helen Sang is Personal Chair in Vertebrate Molecular Development at The Roslin Institute, The University of Edinburgh. Professor Sang's main research focus at The Roslin Institute has been the development of technologies for genetic modification of the chicken. These technologies have been applied in several areas of research and are being applied to studies using the chick as a model for vertebrate development. Having developed genetic modification of the chicken, particularly in regards to generating chickens resistant to bird flu, Professor Sang has been involved in many public engagement activities, working with the Science Media Centre and engaging with the public at various festivals and events. Helen has been a member of the BBSRC Bioscience for Industry Panel for the last three years, was previously a member of response mode grants committees and the former Studentships and Fellowships Committee, and has spent eight years on the Executive Committee of the UK Genetics Society.

A biography for Mr David Gregory can be seen on the Council page of the BBSRC website:


Notes to editors

BBSRC Council is the senior decision making body responsible for determining the policy, priorities and strategy of BBSRC. Appointments are made in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity (if any declared) to be made public.

No political activity or public appointments have been declared.

Eligible members of Council will receive an honorarium of £6,850 per year. The honorarium is paid in respect of all duties carried out during their appointment to Council.

Details of Council Members' interests are available on the BBSRC website


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, and with an annual budget of around £467M (2012-2013), 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.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see:

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