The Institute is delighted to welcome six new Trustees to its Board, with the new members representing scientific expertise aligned to the Institute’s research themes and operational areas such as personnel strategy and financial management. Together with the Chair of the Board, the existing Trustees and the Institute’s leadership, they will play an important role in shaping the Institute’s future strategy as it looks to achieve scientific and operational excellence.
The new Trustees are:
The new Trustees will join the Board over a period of time running from October until the end of 2023 to replace outgoing members who have completed their term. The Institute would like to express its appreciation for outgoing members: Professor Peter Parker, Professor Nic Jones, Dr Lynne Gailey and Mr Geoff Braham.
Professor Dame Linda Partridge DBE, FRS, FRSE, FMedSci takes the helm as the incoming Chair of the Board, replacing Professor Peter Rigby FRS, FMedSci, outgoing Chair of the Board, after over a decade of service to the Institute.
Welcoming the new Trustees, Professor Partridge said: “It’s been inspiring to join the Board and ‘get under the hood’ of the Institute. The Institute’s research on human biology and healthy ageing is vital to secure better health and alleviate the age-related decline that affects quality of life. I am delighted to welcome our new Trustees and immensely grateful for their dedication, expertise and support as we work together to support excellence across the Institute.”
Dr Simon Cook, Institute Director, joined Professor Partridge in her welcome to the new Trustees, commenting: “In joining our Board, our Trustees become part of the fabric of the Institute. We value their contributions and expertise, which help the Institute grow and improve, and in turn we hope they join us in striving to create an organisation where it’s not only science and innovation that thrive, but individuals and teams from across our community. We look forward to getting to know each of our new Trustees and are deeply grateful for their contributions to the Institute.”
Professor Petra Hajkova FMedSci
Petra is the Deputy Director at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (MRC LMS) where she leads the Reprogramming and Chromatin research group. Next to her MRC role, Petra is also a Professor of Developmental Epigenetics at the Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London. She completed her first degree at the Charles University in Prague and then undertook a PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. For her postdoctoral research she joined Professor Azim Surani at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, UK to work on epigenetic reprogramming. Petra started her independent research group at MRC LMS in 2009; her research focuses on elucidating how epigenetic information is transmitted, erased and re-instated during mammalian lifecycles.
Petra was elected an EMBO Young Investigator in 2013, awarded the Mary Lyon medal by the Genetics Society in 2017, became an EMBO member in 2018 and elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2022. More information on Petra’s research expertise can be found on the group’s page on the MRC-LMS website.
Professor Paul J Lehner FRCP, FMedSci, FRS
Paul is Professor of Immunology and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, and Honorary Consultant in infectious diseases. He trained in medicine and infectious diseases in London, undertook his PhD at Cardiff University and post-doctoral training at Yale University, US. His work sits at the interface between immunology, cell biology and virology and uses functional genetic and proteomic technologies to study how viruses interact with, and evade recognition of, the human immune system. His identification of epigenetic pathways for silencing intra- and extra-chromosomal DNA include his discovery of the Human Silencing Hub (HUSH), an epigenetic transcriptional repressor complex which protects the vertebrate genome from the products of reverse transcription. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2004) and a Fellow of the Royal Society (2022). Read Paul’s full profile on the lab’s website.
Professor Helen Walden FRSE
Helen is a Professor of Structural Biology and Head of the School of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Glasgow. She holds a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Bath and a PhD in Structural Biology from the University of St Andrews. She carried out her postdoctoral training at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, US.
In 2005, she established her own research group at the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK (now part of the Francis Crick Institute). In 2013, she moved to the MRC Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee and relocated in 2017 to the University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on mechanisms of ubiquitin signalling, with particular emphasis on DNA repair and neurodegenerative disorders.
In 2011 Helen was elected an EMBO Young Investigator, and in 2015 was awarded the Colworth Medal of the Biochemical Society. In 2022 she was elected to EMBO and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Read Helen’s full profile of the University of Glasgow, School of Molecular Sciences website.
Tim is an experienced, qualified accountant with a successful track-record as a commercially orientated finance director. Tim was most recently the Chief Financial Officer of Caledonia Investments PLC, a UK listed investment trust, a position he held from 2019 to late 2023. Prior to joining Caledonia, Tim was the Chief Financial Officer of the Wellcome Trust, the global charitable foundation focused on health research. As their CFO, Tim was involved with several Wellcome-funded research activities, including the Genome Campus at Hinxton. Tim’s earlier career was principally focused on civil aviation, with senior finance roles at British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Tim is a non-executive director of Worldwide Healthcare Trust PLC, a specialist investment trust which invests in the global healthcare sector, chairing its Audit and Risk Committee. Tim is also a non-executive director of Premier Marinas Group, a Wellcome Trust investment business, and a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of Oxford University Endowment Management.
Tim holds a degree in Chemistry from Oxford University.
John has more than 25 years’ experience in HR, organisational development and change management in large, complex organisations. He began his career in fast-paced acute healthcare organisations, mainly in the NHS. He was HR Director at the charity Cancer Research UK and went on to join the Executive team at the Francis Crick Institute in central London during its set-up phase. In this role he led the merger of legacy research institutes and subsequently also integrated researchers from three university partners.
John subsequently joined the British Medical Association to lead a cultural improvement programme with a new CEO and senior leadership team, improving staff engagement and connection to the BMA strategy.
Most recently he joined the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), part of the University of London, leading the people function where he is responsible for culture and staff engagement.
John has also held board-level non-executive director roles at the healthcare charity Leukaemia UK and Pursuing Independent Pathways, a small charity for teenagers with learning difficulties.
Dr John Wells
John graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Physics and a PhD in Engineering. He then worked in research and development at BP’s Corporate Technology Centre, subsequently broadening into international business management, strategy and policy roles over a 27-year career. John became the Director of Operations (COO) of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute in 2009 with responsibility for all operational aspects of the Institute, retiring in 2018. John has served as a board member of wide variety of organisations, including as a Governor of Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and a member of the Joint Assembly of the Greater Cambridge Partnership. He is currently a Trustee of the Cambridge Colleges Federated Pension Scheme.
Dr Louisa Wood, Head of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org
A gallery of images featuring the new Trustee members and images representing the Institute's research and community.
About the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through Institute Strategic Programme Grants and an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.
About the Institute’s Board of Trustees
The Institute’s Board is responsible for overseeing the management of the Institute to ensure that the Institute runs optimally and meets the requirements associated with its funding from the BBSRC and its charitable status. The Board works closely with the Director and the Institute’s senior management to shape the Institute’s strategic vision and set priorities and policies.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
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 £451 million in world-class bioscience in 2019-20. 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.
Institute appoints Professor Dame Linda Partridge FRS as Chair of the Board of Trustees
Annual Research Report
28 September 2023