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Meet our team

The Institute is strategically run and managed by a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) which comprises of four Directors that are overseen by the Institute Director and CEO Dr Bryan Charleston. Together the SLT provides expertise and knowledge to ensure the organisation evolves and continues to operate at the forefront of scientific research, vaccinology and diagnostics and surveillance to control and contain viral diseases of livestock and those that spread from farm animals to people.

Dr Bryan Charleston MRCVS, Institute Director

Dr Bryan CharlestonDr Charleston obtained a BVetMed from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, UK in 1982. After a period of time in Large Animal Practice, studied for a Masters degree in Molecular Biology at University College London in 1988, then a PhD degree, as a Wellcome Trust Scholar, from the University of London, UK, in 1991. He then carried out postdoctoral research, as a Wellcome Trust Post-doctoral fellow, at the Royal Veterinary College and the Babraham Institute, Cambridge for three years.

He joined The Pirbright Institute (formally known as the Institute for Animal Health) in 1994 and focused on studies of the immune response to viral infections in cattle. In addition, he has provided advice on studies of the immune response to viral infections in cattle. In addition, he has provided advice and expertise on the design of infectious disease challenge models for a wide range of pathogens in important agricultural species.  His research group’s efforts are focused on understanding the immune response to foot-and–mouth disease virus in cattle to develop novel vaccines.

Dr Michael Johnson, Director of Capability

Dr Michael Johnson Michael Johnson moved to the UK in 2008 to The Pirbright Institute and he has fulfilled several roles including Head of the Pirbright Laboratory and Head of Estates. Currently he is Director of Capability which includes Estates, Animal and Research Services and is the Senior Responsible Owner for the Institutes’ Development Programme. The Plowright Building, a £135M new high containment laboratory, was completed in 2014 and occupied by staff in early 2015. The Jenner Building will be completed late in 2015 and occupied by staff in early 2016. There are other facilities in design and The Pirbright Institute has a Master Plan for future development on the site. Michael sits on the UK High Containment Laboratory Co-ordinating Committee, established by the Prime Ministers Cabinet Office.

Michael previously worked for 14 years in the CSIRO CL4 high containment facility in Geelong, Australia, as a senior principal researcher into swine and poultry viral diseases and vaccine development, and as Programme Leader of the diagnostic facility, responsible for Australia’s preparedness against exotic viral disease threats, including FMDV, CSFV, and Hendra virus.

Michael’s educational degrees are BSc (Hons), MBA and PhD in virology. He is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Member of the Project Management Institute.

Dr Andrew White BSc PhD CMIOSH AIEMA, Director of Risk and Assurance

Dr Andy White Andy is a biochemist by training, and holds a PhD in protein structure & chemistry from the University of Birmingham UK.

He worked as a University researcher and lecturer for several years. Andy is a Chartered Health & Safety practitioner, and previously had leadership roles in Health & Safety and risk management for a number of research-led organisations, including the University of Southampton, the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, and the Medical Research Council.

As Director of Risk & Assurance for the Pirbright Institute, he leads on all aspects of risk management including biosafety, Health & Safety, quality assurance, environment, crisis management & business continuity, biosecurity, and wider enterprise risks such as financial, informational, operational, reputational and strategic risks. Andy also leads on assurance processes, including leading and lagging performance metrics, audit & inspection, and benchmarking. Andy’s approach is to develop practical and proportionate risk & assurance solutions that facilitate science excellence.  Andy is also a member of the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council.
Group Lead scientist Programme
African Swine Fever Virus Dr Linda Dixon Vector-borne
African Swine Fever Immunology Dr Maria Montoya Vector-borne
Arbovirus Immunology Dr Karin Darpel Vector-borne
Arbovirus Molecular Research Dr Kyriaki Nomikou Vector-borne
Arbovirus Pathogenesis Dr Rennos Fragkoudis Vector-borne
Arthropod Genetics Prof Luke Alphey Vector-borne
Avian Endemic Viruses Dr Erica Bickerton Avian
Avian Immunology Dr Shahriar Behboudi Avian
Avian Influenza Dr Munir Iqbal Avian
Bioimaging Dr Pippa Hawes Avian, Livestock, Vector-borne
Birnaviruses Dr Andrew Broadbent Avian
Entomology Dr Simon Carpenter Vector-borne
Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility Dr Katy Moffat Services
Genetics and Genomics Dr Mark Fife Avian, Vector-borne
Immunobiology & Epigenetics Dr Nick Ciccone Avian
Immunogenetics Dr John Hammond Livestock
Infection and Innate Immunity Dr Muhammad Munir Avian
Influenza Viruses Dr Holly Shelton Avian
Integrative Biology & Bioinformatics Dr Paolo Ribeca Avian, Livestock, Vector-borne
Integrative Entomology Dr Anthony Wilson Vector-borne
Large DNA Viruses Dr Pip Beard Livestock
Mathematical Biology Dr Simon Gubbins Livestock, Vector-borne
Nidovirus-cell Interactions Dr Helena Maier Avian
Non-vesicular Disease Reference Laboratory Dr Carrie Batten Vector-borne
Orbivirus Immunology Dr Javier Castillo-Olivares Vector-borne
Picornavirus Molecular Biology Dr Toby Tuthill Livestock
Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Immunology Dr Simon Graham Livestock
Swine Influenza Immunology Dr Elma Tchilian Livestock
Tick Cell Biobank Dr Lesley Bell-Sakyi Vector-borne
Transmission Biology Dr Simon Gubbins Livestock
Vaccine Differentiation Dr Satya Parida Livestock
Vaccinology (Cellular Immunology) Dr Efrain Guzman Livestock
Vector Molecular Biology Dr Jaroslaw Krzywinski Vector-borne
Vesicular Disease Reference Laboratory Dr Don King Livestock
Viral Immunology Dr Bryan Charleston Livestock
Viral Oncogenesis Prof Venugopal Nair OBE Avian

Dr Louise Barton, Head of Science Administration

Dr Louise Barton, Head of Science Administration Louise Barton is the Head of Science Administration at The Pirbright Institute. She obtained a BSc in Biology from the University of Southampton, and then went on to complete a PhD in molecular endocrinology at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London.

Subsequently, Louise made the move into science administration. She previously worked in the Grants Management team at the Wellcome Trust, where she was responsible for overseeing all stages of the grant life cycle, in the area of Genetic and Molecular Sciences. She managed a number of Wellcome’s expert committees and was involved in a number of partnership schemes with other funding bodies. In addition, during her time at Wellcome Louise assisted in the project to implement a new grants application and management system.

Louise joined The Pirbright Institute in 2016 and she and her team support the Director, Heads of Programmes and Reference Laboratories to manage the Institute’s scientific work, grant submissions, grants management processes, research contracts and agreements. Louise manages a number of internal committees and the Institutes Scientific Advisory Board meetings.

In addition, Louise manages the Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation team. They provide the Institute with the necessary support and continuity for existing technology transfer and business activities and develop new initiatives in knowledge exchange and commercialisation.

Toby Fenton, Head of Information Services

Toby Fenton Toby Fenton is the Head of Information Services at The Pirbright Institute. After completing a BSc in Communications Engineering he went on to work for a Systems Integration Company that allowed him to work on a few amazing projects including Channel Tunnel, BBC, London Underground and Ben Gurion International Airport.

Having a background in networking he went on to design the network used as a template to be rolled out for Toyota Bank worldwide.

At the Institute Toby with his team regularly provide innovative solutions to the challenges of working in a high containment environment whilst he also acts as the site Data Protection Officer.

His team, split into 4 divisions IT Operations, IT Service, Informatics and Library, covers all aspects of the technical architecture and more recently have been responsible for delivering the new virtual desktop infrastructure.

Teresa Maughan, Head of Communications

Teresa Maughan Teresa Maughan is Head of Communications at The Pirbright Institute and has responsibility for strategic corporate communications including public relations, reputation management, internal communications, crisis media management, marketing, digital media channels, events and public engagement.

Teresa has a CIPR Diploma in Public Relations and a BSc Hons Degree in Psychology and Zoology and has spent all entire career working in marketing and communications in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Teresa joined the Institute in 2013 and she and her team have been responsible for delivering a new corporate website, a year of Centenary celebrations and introduced innovative ways to communicate the scientific work of the Institute as well as engaging in an extensive range of public engagement activities. Previously she worked in communications in local government and led on major projects that include the Olympic Torch Relay, UK Parliamentary Elections and crisis communicatons.

Prior to working in the public sector she established her own contract publishing business providing editorial and design services for clients such as BBC Worldwide, Haymarket, Channel 4, Ebury Books, DHL and Waterstones working on brands that include BBC Gardeners World, BBC Good Food, Royal Horticultural Society, Linux, Olive and Maxim. At privately owned international publishing company Dennis Publishing she built a portfolio of consumer youth magazines in the games and entertainment sector becoming Publishing Director.

Dr Lynda Moore, Head of Academic Affairs and Training

Dr Lynda Moore Lynda Moore is Head of Academic Affairs and Training at The Pirbright Institute.  Following a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Bristol, her PhD studies at the Institute’s Compton Laboratory centred on the pathogenicity of Moraxella bovis in Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis.  Lynda then moved to the Department of Animal Health at the University of Sydney, Australia for six years where her postdoctoral research centred on the antigenic variation of Dichelobacter nodosus and vaccine development against footrot in sheep.

Upon returning to the UK, Lynda held a teaching/research role at the University of Bristol’s veterinary school for twelve years followed by a teaching/management role for a further seven years.  Her posts included senior lecturer in Veterinary Microbiology, Head of Admissions, Head of Teaching, Widening Participation Officer for the Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences and Chair of the Faculty Quality Assurance of Teaching team. She holds the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Lynda is now responsible for the Institute’s doctoral training programme which hosts approximately 50 PhD students, including the Institute’s links with 20 degree awarding universities.  She also leads the training team overseeing aspects of student and post-doctoral training, e-learning for staff development, competency and compliance, staff training records, and Institute training courses for international scientists.  Her external roles include Member of the University of Bristol Court and External Examiner for the Glasgow and London veterinary schools.

Keith Simpson, Head of Finance and Procurement

Keith Simpson Keith Simpson is the Institute’s Head of Finance, having joined Pirbright in 2005.  He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). His remit includes all aspects of the Institute’s finances including both operational and capital as well as managing the procurement function and leading the Finance team.

He is a regular contributor to the Trustee Board, Senior Leadership Team and is a member of the Development Programme Board and the Strategic Group as well as being a member of working groups (including BBSRC) reviewing various change processes.

Keith has worked both in the private and public/not for profit sector throughout the UK, and has extensive experience at managing finance functions in the delivery of excellent services and supporting organisations with financial advice and in making better decisions.

Sharon Webster, Head of Risk and Assurance and Biological Safety Officer

Sharon WebsterSharon is Head of Risk and Assurance and Institute Biological Safety Officer. She is a Chartered Member of IOSH and an ISTR registered Biosafety Professional. During her career she has worked as both a scientist and as a safety advisor at Public Health England, Porton Down, a HSE Specialist Inspector for the Biological Agents Unit, Head of Health and Safety at the Institute for Animal Health and BBSRC Corporate Biosafety Manager.

Sharon manages the Health, Safety, Biosafety groups (HSBS) and acts as Biological Safety Officer for all GM, COSHH and SAPO activities on site.

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