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 - Chair
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 Persephone Borrow
She obtained a BA(Hons) degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, UK and stayed at Cambridge to study for a PhD under the supervision of Professor Tony Nash. After this she carried out postdoctoral research with Professor Michael Oldstone at The Scripps Research Institute, USA, where she subsequently progressed to become an Assistant Member. She then returned to the UK to lead the Viral Immunology Group at the newly-established Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research, and in 2005 joined the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford, where she currently holds the position of Professor of Viral Immunology and is also a Jenner Institute Investigator.
Her research team, based at the NDM Research Building on Oxford University’s Old Road Campus, focuses mainly on analysis of CD4 and CD8 T cell responses and innate responses in HIV infection, aiming to inform the development of vaccines and other prophylactic and therapeutic strategies based on modulation of T cell and innate immunity; and is also performing some comparative studies of innate responses in other human virus infections including herpesvirus infections. Her group’s research is largely funded by the MRC and the US NIH.
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 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 Stephen Inglis
After a degree in biochemistry from Aberdeen and a Cambridge Ph.D. working on the molecular biology of influenza virus, he spent ten years as a lecturer in the Department of Pathology, Cambridge University, specializing in RNA viruses. In 1990 he moved into the biotechnology industry, developing novel vaccines and biotherapeutics as one of the founders of Cantab Pharmaceuticals, and becoming Research Director in 1995.
At NIBSC he played a key role in particular in shaping its influenza and advanced therapies programmes as well as overseeing successive mergers with the HPA and MHRA. He has served on many national advisory committees, including the Joint Vaccination and Immunisation Committee, Joint Professional Advisory Committee to the UK Blood Services and Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Group. He also played an important role internationally as Director of the leading WHO Collaborating Laboratory for Standards and a member of the WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan Monitoring Group.
He holds an Honorary Professorship in the Division of Infection and Immunity at University College London, a visiting Fellowship at the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control, Beijing, and received a CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List.