The Pirbright Institute is an independent company, limited by guarantee and a registered charity, governed by a Board of non-executive Trustee Directors. Research at the Institute is reviewed by an independent group of leading scientists who comprise the Science Advisory Board and whose role it is to provide advice and guidance on science strategy and direction.
Dr Theo Kanellos
Mr Roger Louth
Dr Vanessa Mayatt OBE
Professor Quintin McKellar CBE - Chair
Sir Bertie Ross
Professor David Rowlands
Mr Mike Samuel
Professor John Stephenson
Professor Jeffrey Almond
He was lecturer at the University of Leicester from 1979-85 and Professor of Microbiology at the University of Reading 1985-99. He has published extensively, especially in the field of Virology.
His scientific contributions include the first demonstration that a single gene can determine host range of influenza virus– a finding highly relevant to understanding evolution of new pandemic strains; completion of the genetic map of an avian influenza virus, and the first detailed description of the proteins of Influenza B virus. He has also made major contributions to our understanding of polio virus and its vaccines.
In 1985 as a young academic, Almond won the Fleming Award for outstanding contributions to microbiological research by a young microbiologist in the UK, and the pace and extent of his contributions have not diminished. In his previous role he was responsible for the scientific rationale underpinning approximately 30 vaccine projects covering viruses, bacteria and eukaryotic parasites.
During the BSE crisis he served as coordinator of the BBSRC’s Research programme on the Spongiform Encephalopathies and was a member of the Government’s Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee (SEAC). He is an Elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and in 1999 was awarded the Ivanovsky Medal for “Contributions to the Development of Virology” by The Scientific Council of Virology of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.
Professor Wendy Barclay
Professor Barclay’s expertise is in the field of respiratory viruses, in particular influenza virus. Her studies aim to understand the molecular and cellular basis of the pathogenesis, host range restrictions and transmissibility of influenza viruses. The approach includes the generation of recombinant viruses with defined mutations. This strategy has contributed to the production of novel influenza pandemic vaccines. Translational aspects include analysing mode of action and resistance mechanisms of antiviral compounds, and characterization of novel cell substrates and attenuated virus backbones for influenza vaccines. Her laboratory is funded by grants awarded by the European Union, MRC, BBSRC, and Wellcome Trust.
Professor Joe Brownlie
Professor Brownlie advises on new and emerging diseases both nationally and internationally and was, until recently, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for The Pirbright Institute. He is a Governor of the Southern Africa Centre for Infectious Disease and Surveillance (SACIDS). He has chaired the BVD Scientific and Technical Group to define a strategy for national eradication of the disease. He is currently engaged on taking his discovery of new viruses through development to commercial vaccines.
Professor Brownlie worked at The Pirbright Institute (formerly known as the Institute of Animal Health) from 1968 to 1995.
Professor Keith Gull (Chair)
Professor Gull teaches aspects of tropical medicine to medical and science students in Oxford, in particular the molecular microbiology of parasites causing diseases such as Malaria, African Sleeping Sickness and Leishmaniasis. He has major interests in the education of graduate students and has initiated and been involved in many developments in graduate schools and graduate education. Currently he runs short courses in East and West Africa for young scientists and is Director of one of the Wellcome Trust 4 year PhD programmes in Oxford.
A central theme of Professor Gull’s research has been the biochemistry and cell biology of microtubules. This interest was initiated by his early finding that a number of antibiotics and drugs acted by inhibiting these essential cellular components. His interests are now focused on the African trypanosome – the parasite causing Sleeping Sickness, a devastating disease of sub-Saharan Africa. His laboratory is particularly interested in the structural and molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis.
Professor Duncan Maskell
His main research interests have centred on bacterial diseases of humans and other animals, with zoonotic bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and Streptococcus suis being particularly constant elements of his research portfolio. His work has covered all aspects of the host-pathogen interaction, from how the bacteria themselves work, through to how host responses operate to lead to infection or clearance of the bacteria, and he has been a keen advocate for using genomics to study these pathogens in the laboratory and in the field.
Professor Thomas Mettenleiter
After obtaining a PhD with studies on pseudorabies virus (PrV) glycoproteins he went to performed research at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA for 18 months to continue his work on PrV in collaboration with Professor Tamar Ben-Porat, then the world's leading PrV researcher. After his return he was appointed director of the department of molecular and cellular virology at Insel Riems. His scientific studies on the molecular biology and pathogenesis of animal herpesviruses provided important results to understand the structure, replication, virulence and tropism of herpesviruses and for the development of novel vaccines. His results contributed to the first development of marked vaccines and, thus, for the efficient control and eradication of Aujeszky's disease in pigs.
Since 1997 he is president of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, with headquarters on the Isle of Riems close to Greifswald, the world's oldest virological research institute. The FLI has been designated a Collaborative Center for Zoonoses in Europe of the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE). He is a member of the German academy of sciences Leopoldina, the Polish Academy of Science, the Belgian Royal Medical Society and the Academy of Science in Hamburg. In addition, he holds an honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine awarded from the veterinary university at Hannover, Germany and was awarded the Robert von Ostertag-Medal, the highest distinction of the German Veterinary Association. He has published around 400 peer reviewed papers in high ranking journals mostly on PrV and other animal herpesviruses but also on influenza, rhabdo, paramyxo and other viruses. He remains devoted to the study of PrV as a model for herpesvirus infection and as an important infectious agent for animal husbandry.
Professor John Pickett
Professor Pickett completed BSc and PhD degrees at the University of Surrey and was a post-doctoral researcher in organic chemistry at UMIST before joining the Brewing Research Foundation.
In 1976, he moved to Rothamsted Experimental Station (now Rothamsted Research), studying ways to control insect pests by modifying behavioural activity. He was appointed Head of the Insecticides and Fungicides Department (later the Biological Chemistry Department) in 1984, and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Pest and Disease Management in 2007.
He has also been a Special Professor at the University of Nottingham since 1991, and an Honorary Member of the Academic Staff at the University of Reading since 1995. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1996 and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (US) in 2014.
He was awarded a share of the 2008 Wolf Prize in Agriculture "for their remarkable discoveries of mechanisms governing plant-insect and plant-plant interactions. Their scientific contributions on chemical ecology have fostered the development of integrated pest management and significantly advanced agricultural sustainability”. He delivered the Croonian Lecture the same year to the Royal Society on Plant and Animal Communication.
Professor Alan Rickinson
Professor Rickinson then moved to the University of Birmingham, which he established as international centre of excellence for work on human tumour viruses. He continues to lead a large research group focusing on the Epstein-Barr virus and its associated malignancies.
Professor Rickinson has received numerous honours. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society (UK National Academy of Science), a Founder Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London.. He serves on the Editorial Board of several important journals and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of many research centres both in UK and worldwide. He has numerous publications and his work has had a tremendous impact on elucidating the biology and immunology of EBV infection and development of therapeutic vaccines to target EBV-associated malignancies.
Professor Mark Rweyemamu
He was a member of the EFSA Working Group on assessing the risk of foot-and-mouth disease introduction into the EU from developing countries, and the Foresight Study on Infectious Diseases – Preparing for the Future.
He is a Member of the Board of GALVMed, a public-private partnership that supports the development of biologicals and therapeutics for animal diseases in developing countries. He is also a member of the Executive Board of CORDS, a One Health focussed global network that connects organisations for regional disease surveillance.