The Institute is strategically run and managed by a Senior Leadership Board (SLB) which comprises of three Directors that are overseen by the Institute Director and CEO Prof Bryan Charleston. Together the SLB 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.
Prof Bryan Charleston MRCVS, Institute Director
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 Andrew White BSc PhD CMIOSH AIEMA, Director of Risk and Assurance
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.
Helen Watts BSc FCA, Director of Finance and Company Secretary
Helen has worked both in the private and public/not for profit sector throughout the UK, including world leaders in the marine industry, and British Institutions. She has extensive experience of managing finance functions to deliver excellent information and financial advice. She believes strongly in providing customer focused, timely information to help the organisation make well informed decisions. She also has significant experience of providing oversight to IT functions in many varied industries, again with the aim of providing IT solutions most suitable to the organisation’s needs.
Helen is a member of the Senior Leadership Board and attends the Trustee Board as the Institute’s Company Secretary. She is also a member of the Development Programme Board, as well as being a member of a number of working groups overseeing many aspects of the Institute’s operations.
Prof John Hammond Director of Research
John contributes to all aspects of Institute senior management and focus in particular on the science – operations interface and research culture.
Dr Louise Barton, Head of Science Administration
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.
Ana Corral, Head of Quality and Organisation
Ana has been at Pirbright since 2015 managing the Quality and Environment team. She is also responsible for the organisation audit programme and the implementation of new laboratory software solutions. In addition, she is the Quality Manager for European Virus Archive goes Global (EVAg) and coordinates quality aspects of twinning projects between Pirbright and other organisations.
Ana works very closely with all departments across Pirbright, science and non-science, promoting a continuous improvement ethos and facilitating change. She, and her team, provides support to the organisation in all aspects of their work.
Lizelle Gouverneur, Head of Business Development
Prior to joining the Institute, Lizelle worked in the private sector, licensing in technologies like material and reagents from academic partners. She is also a trainer on the PraxisAuril Research Contracts course. Lizelle has qualifications in Biochemistry, Business Management and Intellectual Property Law.
Graeme Harkess, Head of Bio-Risk and Site Biosafety Officer (BSO)
Graeme is a member of the Institute of Safety in Technology and Research (MISTR), the Royal Society of Biology (MRSB), has a NEBOSH Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety is a Biosafety Practitioner (level 1), a qualified dangerous goods safety advisor (DGSA) and STEM ambassador.
Part of Graeme’s role includes being the site liaison with our regulator the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Dr Tamara Jabbar, Head of Education
Following a foundation degree in veterinary medicine, a master’s degree in Theriogenology and hands on experience in many exotic disease and exotic animal species, Tamara moved to the UK to pursue her career. In 2012, Tamara attained her PhD from The Pirbright Institute for developing a bluetongue virus (BTV) vaccine. Following her PhD, she went on to work as a lecturer in animal management at NESCOT college and offered pastoral support to the college students before returning to The Pirbright Institute as a researcher and a member of the African Swine Fever team, working on “Further development of an African swine fever virus live attenuated vaccine” project. In 2017 Tamara joined the development team at Pirbright, where she was involved in reviewing the design of the new, state-of-art animal facilities. In 2020 Tamara, joined the SPirE (Sharing Pirbright’s Expertise) team, where she was responsible for the development of training courses targeting researchers and/or veterinarians interested in enhancing their knowledge of exotic viral diseases. The courses aimed at veterinarians are specifically designed to boost their workplace awareness of clinical signs, diagnostic tests, and control measures, and may be used to support their continuing professional development. The courses she developed included African swine fever, Marek’s disease, avian influenza virus and infectious bursal disease.
Chris Overton, Head of Information Services
Chris brings with him over 25 years’ experience in Information Technology, 18 of which have been held in management roles and he has a diverse background in IT and IT project management.
Prior to joining The Pirbright Institute, Chris spent the last 11 years working as IT Manager for a medical devices company who design and manufacture orthopaedic implants, and in previous roles he has been responsible for migrating a number of key business systems into the cloud and is very keen to explore new cloud technologies as they emerge.
Dr Toby Tuthill, Head of Programme: Understanding and Preventing Viral Diseases
Toby joined The Pirbright Institute as a Research Fellow in 2009 after ten years postdoctoral experience in the laboratory of Professor Dave Rowlands at the University of Leeds.
Susan Williams, Head of Finance
Prior to this, she worked in the property management industry for 17 years, 14 of which were in a managerial position. As Finance & IT manager, Susan was a member of the board, part of the Senior Membership Team and made key decisions regarding the strategic direction of the company. Her team produced over 100 service charge audited accounts per year, managed 200 bank accounts and produced consolidated company accounts. They were also heavily involved in running service charge budget and year end meetings for over 85 property estates across the South-East. Susan also played a key role in implementing a new accounting property management system and enabling the smooth relocation of the company on two occasions.