MRC Legacy Council
From 1 April 2018, the MRC Council became a committee of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), alongside eight other committees (referred to as the 'Councils'). This page relates to the MRC Legacy Council. For information on the current Council, see the UKRI MRC Council page.
Chairman – Sir Donald Brydon
Sir Donald Brydon is Chairman of London Stock Exchange Group plc, Sage Group plc and the MRC's Legacy Council. He had a 20-year career with Barclays Group, during which time he was Chairman and Chief Executive of BZW Investment Management and acting Chief Executive of BZW followed by fifteen years with the AXA Group, including holding the posts of Chairman and Chief Executive of AXA Investment Managers. He is also Chairman of LifeSight Ltd, the charity Chance to Shine and the Science Museum Foundation. He has also recently been Chairman of Royal Mail Group plc, Smiths Group plc, the London Metal Exchange, Amersham plc, Taylor Nelson Sofres plc, and the ifs School of Finance and a Director of Allied Domecq plc and Scottish Power plc. He is also a past Chairman of EveryChild.
Dr John Brown
Dr Brown has a portfolio of non-executive directorships in both the public and private sectors. He also holds an honorary position as Professor at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded CBE in 2011.
He is a pharmacologist by training and began his career in research with Glaxo Group Research and over a five year period carried out research and development activities related to novel analgesic molecules. Since then he has worked in a leadership role in several life science companies engaged in the development of novel, drugs, vaccines, diagnostic tests, cell therapies and medical devices. He was Chief Executive of Acambis plc, a leading producer of vaccines to treat and prevent infectious disease from 1995 until 2004. He is Chairman of Synpromics Ltd, and Senior Non-Executive Director of Electrical Geodesics Inc. He was previously Chairman of Kyowa Kirin International Ltd, Touch Bionics Ltd, BTG plc, and Axis-Shield plc and was a Director of Cambridge Antibody Technology plc until its acquisition by AstraZeneca. He has been a Director of several other life science companies over the last ten years and during this period gained significant additional international experience in the US, Europe and Singapore. He has also advised several private equity and venture capital funds.
In addition to MRC Council, Dr Brown holds a ministerial public appointment as Chair of the Cell Therapy Catapult. He receives £30,000 per year as Chair of the Cell Therapy Catapult.
He was a member and then Chair of the BioMedical Catalyst MAC.
He has been a Chairman of the Life Science Advisory Board for the Scottish Government and Chair of the Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group for Scottish Enterprise. He was a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council and of the Advisory Board of the Life Sciences ITI and continues to advise Scottish Enterprise in areas of Life Science and Innovation. He currently chairs the Roslin Foundation charity and the Easter Bush Development Board and is a Trustee of Medical Research Scotland .
Dr Brown was appointed as a Board member of the UK Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) at its inception in 2004 and served as a Non-Executive Director from its conversion to NDPB status in 2007 until 2013. He is a Fellow and Treasurer of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and until recently sat on the RSE/BBSRC Enterprise Fellowship Committee.
Professor Dame Janet Finch
Dame Janet holds an honorary position of Professor of Sociology at Manchester University. She was Vice-Chancellor of Keele University from 1995 until 2010. Prior to that she was at Lancaster University, where she was Pro Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Social Relations. Dame Janet has pursued a mixed portfolio of non-executive and academic activities following her retirement from Keele University in 2010.
Dame Janet's research expertise lies principally in studies of contemporary family relationships, especially relationships across generations. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. She was awarded a CBE in 1999 and a DBE in 2008, for services to social science. She has also been involved at national level in a range of policy-making bodies related to higher education and research, including research funding, equal opportunities and quality assurance. Between 2007 and 2011 she was independent Co-Chair of the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology, the Government's most senior advisory body for science and research.
Currently she is Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council. During 2015 she was a member of the Advisory Group for the Nurse Review of the Research Councils.
Professor John Iredale
John Iredale is Pro Vice Chancellor Health at the University of Bristol. He holds the chair of Experimental Medicine, and his areas of leadership and responsibility are for the research, teaching and management strategy for the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences across the relevant Faculties at the University of Bristol. He also holds Honorary Consultant contracts with the North Bristol NHS Trust and the University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust. Previously Professor Iredale was the Regius Chair of Medical Science, Dean of Clinical Medicine and Vice Principal Health Services at the University of Edinburgh where he led the Medical School. He has previously held the Chair of Medicine in Edinburgh (2006-2013), the chair of Medicine at the University of Southampton (2004-2006) and a Personal Chair in Hepatology (2000-2004).
Professor Iredale graduated from the University of Southampton with honours in Clinical Distinction in 1985 and was awarded a DM in 1995. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1999 and The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 2007. He was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2003 and Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2011.
Iredale’s research interests are focused on tissue scarring and regeneration and he has published extensively on these subjects including key contributions in manuscripts published in Science, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Plos Medicine, PNAS, Nature Medicine and Nature Cell Biology. He was a panel member of RAE 2008 UoA4 and REF 2014UoA1. From 2010 – 2016 Iredale was director of the University of Edinburgh/MRC Centre for Inflammation Research. Iredale developed his research career through sequential MRC funded fellowship (CTRF, Clinician Scientist and Senior Clinical Fellowship).
Iredale has contributed to a number of grant panels at both the MRC and Wellcome Trust and was for 5 years a member of the Wellcome Trust Clinical Interview Committee and for 3 years chaired the Academy of Medical Sciences/WT/BHF/MRC Starter Grants for Lecturer Scheme. For 10 years, Iredale has been the scientific chair of the UK’s leading liver disease research charity, The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation and taken over as chair of the Lister Prize Fellowships in 2017.
Always fiercely supportive of young academic talent, Iredale established (with Walker) the Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track Scheme (ECAT), to establish a mentored training scheme for the best aspiring clinical academics, and has recently recapitulated this model as GW4CAT across the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.
Between 2010 and 2016, Iredale was Non-Executive Director of NHS Lothian and is currently a non-executive Director of the North Bristol NHS Trust.
Mr Richard Murley
Richard Murley read Jurisprudence at Oxford University and qualified as a solicitor. He has worked for the major part of his career in the City of London providing corporate finance advice to public and private sector clients in the UK and overseas. He is currently a Vice Chairman of Rothschild, an independent financial advisory group. Before joining Rothschild he was seconded from Goldman Sachs & Co. as Director General of the Panel of Takeovers and Mergers, regulating public company takeovers in the London market. Richard also chairs United Trust Bank Limited, a privately owned specialist lender based in London.
Richard has since 2010, held another public appointment as Chairman of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one of the UK’s largest teaching hospitals. UCLH has a close partnership with University College London and, together with UCL, devotes significant resources to biomedical research. He is also a Director of UCL Partners, a designated Academic Health Science Centre.
Richard is a member of the Panel of Takeovers and Mergers and a Trustee of the Royal Society of Medicine and of Crisis, the national charity for homeless people.
Dr Mene Pangalos
Mene Pangalos, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit. A member of the company’s Senior Executive team, Mene has overall responsibility for the company’s small molecule discovery research and early development activities.
Since joining AstraZeneca in 2010, Mene has been instrumental in transforming the company’s commitment to science. He has led the transformation of R&D productivity through the development and implementation of the “5R” framework (recently published in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery); driven greater collaboration with academic, NGO and peer organisations; pioneered programmes to promote more open innovation and fostered a science driven culture that rewards truth-seeking behaviours.
As one of AstraZeneca’s leading scientists, Mene has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and has served as an editor of books and journals in neuroscience.
Mene is also a leading figure in UK science, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Royal Society of Biology. He is a Visiting Professor of Neuroscience at King’s College London and is a Fellow of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge. Mene serves on the Medical Research Council (MRC), the council for the National Centre for Universities and Business, the Prime Minister’s Research Champion Group for Dementia, and is part of the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group, and is a Non-Executive Director of the UK Precision Medicine Catapult.
Mene is also overseeing the creation of AstraZeneca’s new £330 million research centre in Cambridge - a state of the art facility designed to stimulate collaborative scientific innovation and which will play an important role in the future success of the UK life science industry.
Professor Jill Pell
Jill Pell is the Director of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing and Henry Mechan Professor of Public Health at the University of Glasgow.
She is trained in both general practice and public health. Jill has championed the use of routine data and record linkage as a resource for epidemiology and health services research for more than 20 years. She is a member of: the British Heart Foundation’s Programme Grants Committee and Cancer Research UK’s Epidemiology Expert Review Panel.
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Her study on the impact of smoke-free legislation on myocardial infarction, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was voted by the American Heart and Stroke Associations to be the most important research advance of the year. She was awarded the CBE in 2017 for services to public health research.
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed (MB ChB, PhD, FRCPE, FRCP, FBPhS, FMedSci) is David Weatherall Chair in Medicine at the University of Liverpool, and a Consultant Physician at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. He is Director of the MRC Centre for Drug Safety Sciences, and Director of the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine.
He is an inaugural NIHR Senior Investigator, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in the UK, and a Commissioner on Human Medicines.
He was awarded a Knights Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2015. His research focuses on personalised medicine, clinical pharmacology and drug safety.
Professor Eleanor Riley
After graduating from Bristol University with degrees in Cellular Pathology and Veterinary Science, Eleanor Riley interned in veterinary pathology at Cornell University and obtained her PhD in immunology and parasitology from the University of Liverpool.
After 5 years at the Medical Research Council Laboratories in The Gambia, Eleanor moved to the University of Edinburgh as a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow prior to her appointment to a personal chair at LSHTM in 1998. In September 2017, Eleanor moved back to the University of Edinburgh to take up the role of Director of the Roslin Institute in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.
Eleanor’s research focuses on mechanisms of immunity to malaria, how the immune response can contribute to disease, how immunity affects the distribution and transmission of the parasite and how malaria infection affects resistance to other infections. In addition, Eleanor has a long-standing interest in the biology of natural killer (NK) cells and their role in resistance to infection. Eleanor has previously served as Committee and Strategy Panel chair at BBSRC and as deputy chair of MRC Infections and Immunity Board.
Dr Graham Spittle
Dr Spittle was appointed Chair of Health Data Research UK in 2017 having taken on the role of interim Chair in July 2016. He was, until recently, IBM’s Chief Technology Officer, Europe and Vice President, Software Group.
Previously he held several senior executive positions within IBM: Vice President, Software UKI (UK & Ireland); Vice President, Worldwide Integration Development; Director of the IBM Hursley Laboratory in the United Kingdom, and Director of MQ Development. In June 2008 Dr Spittle was appointed as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to industry.
Professor Irene Tracey
Professor Irene Tracey holds the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Science and is Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford – a 500-person world-leading basic and clinical research department. Irene did her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Oxford from 1985-1993 and then held a postdoctoral position at Harvard Medical School until 1996. In 1997, Irene helped to co-found the now world-leading Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) at the University of Oxford and was its Director from 2005 until 2015. She was also Head of the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics and an Associate Head of the Medical Sciences Division at Oxford prior to taking up her current post. Over the past 18 years her multidisciplinary research team has contributed to a better understanding of pain perception, pain relief and nociceptive processing within the injured and non-injured human central nervous system using advanced neuroimaging techniques. More recently, they have been investigating the neural bases of altered states of consciousness during anaesthesia.
Alongside senior leadership roles within the University, Irene has served and continues to serve on many national and international committees, such as the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), REF2014, British Neuroscience Association and Brain Prize Committee. She was Deputy Chair of the MRC’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Board until 2014. She is a passionate advocate for women in science and is involved in several mentorship schemes. In 2008 she was awarded the triennial Patrick Wall Medal from the Royal College of Anaesthetists and in 2009 was made an FRCA for her contributions to the discipline. In 2015 she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and in 2017 won the Feldberg Foundation Prize.
Dr Pauline Williams
Dr Pauline Williams is Senior Vice President and Head of Global Health R&D in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). She is currently interim Head of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Therapeutic Area Unit. A physician by training, Dr Williams joined Glaxo in 1992 in the clinical pharmacology department. She has worked in several therapeutic areas, with a primary focus on translational and experimental medicine. More recently she has led projects from preclinical stages through to Phase III trials and registration. In 2007 Dr Williams was appointed as Head of the Academic Discovery Performance Unit, pioneering novel medicine development partnership models with academic researchers, including Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc).
In 2012 Dr Williams created the GSK Maternal and Neonatal Health R&D Unit overseeing an innovative partnership with Save the Children to develop medicines specifically designed for use in low resource settings. Dr Williams also founded the GSK Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) Open Lab, an open-innovation initiative designed to stimulate and support research by African academic researchers to understand and address the rising burden of NCDs in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Williams has served on a number of MRC funding review panels including the Patient Cohorts Initiative and the Development Pathway Funding Scheme. She is a member of the GSK-MRC EMINENT Steering Committee. Dr Williams also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Cambridge University/Addenbrooke’s Hospital NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. She is a keen advocate for women in science and has participated in a number of events to promote awareness of careers in science and the pharmaceutical industry. Dr Williams was elected as a Fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine in 2004.