Governance

Governing Council and Strategy Committee

 

The Governing Council has the ultimate responsibility for the strategy of the John Innes Centre.

Strategy is developed under advice from the Science and Impact Advisory Board and the John Innes Centre Strategy Committee.

Governing Council

The John Innes Centre’s Governing Council has specific responsibilities under the BBSRC Conditions of Grant.

It is responsible for the management and administration of the John Innes Centre’s income and expenditure, assets and liabilities.

Ultimately, the Governing Council has responsibility for developing the long-term vision for the John Innes Centre alongside the director, and oversees and reviews the management and achievements of the institute.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett (Chair)

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett is a prominent figure in healthcare, the charity sector and education, following a varied career which includes law and investment banking. He brings outstanding experience of organisational leadership and he is known for his enthusiasm and commitment to those causes he champions.

Recently retired after seven years as Chair of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sir Thomas is Co-founder and Chair of the Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics, founder of the charity Helpforce. He has been Chair of the Institute for Global Health at Imperial College and CEO of Marie Curie.

Dr Deborah Keith

Deborah Keith has over 30 years of experience in the science and technology sector, most recently in corporate Research and Development with Syngenta, a global agri-business.

Following an early career in academic research in plant genetics, and in international development in Bhutan, she has spent the past 16 years focused on the commercialisation of Research and Development innovation. In her most recent role at Syngenta as Head of External Collaborations, she headed global teams to build strategic partnerships with academia and commercial enterprises, and previously headed Syngenta’s Crop Protection research portfolio to deliver global products to development.

Experienced in the innovation process, corporate culture and organisational change she has led corporate teams in the development of global Research and Development strategies. Deborah is a Non-Executive Director of the Aerospace Technology Institute and the James Hutton Institute.

Colin Murrell
Colin Murrell is Professor in Environmental Microbiology in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia and Director of the Earth and Life Systems Alliance on the Norwich Research Park.

His research focuses on the microbiology of climate active gases such as methane and isoprene and regulation of metabolism in bacteria involved in key biogeochemical cycles.

Colin received his BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Southampton and PhD in Microbiology from the University of Warwick. After postdoctoral research at the University of Washington, he returned to the University of Warwick as a Faculty Member where he worked until he moved to the University of East Anglia in 2012.

Robert Maskell
Robert Maskell is responsible for Intel’s High Performance Computing business in the UK.

Passionate about Life Sciences, Robert works with academia, industry and government to drive growth and competitive advantage for the country.

Biology has become a data driven science fundamentally dependent upon compute and Robert sees technical computing as an enabler to empower positive societal change.

Jennifer Midura Heywood
Jennifer Midura Heywood is the Executive Committee member for Strategy and Communications at GKN plc, a UK-based FTSE 100 engineering company that produces Aerospace and Automotive components.

Prior to joining GKN, Jennifer was the Head of Strategy and M&A at AkzoNobel NV, a Netherlands-based Coatings and Chemicals company and the Head of Strategy and Performance for ICI plc, a UK-based Coatings and Chemicals company that was acquired by AkzoNobel in 2008.  Jennifer also previously worked at McKinsey & Company, the international consulting firm, in London and Cleveland.

Jennifer is an American who has a permanent home in Norfolk. She finds working with organisations to help define their future course and priorities a fascinating challenge.  She is also deeply committed to employee training and development and, in particular, to working with young women to further develop their careers.

John Innes
John Innes is a Founder and Director of RWC Partners, an international asset management company.

He has had an over 30 year career in asset management, working across asset classes and at some of the most prestigious investment management firms in the UK. Prior to being the founding portfolio manager at RWC in 2000 John was Head of Institutional Business at M&G Investment Management.  Before that he was Charities Investment Director at Fleming Investment Management and earlier at Lazard Investors as Head of International Institutions.

John graduated with a BSc in Economics from Bristol University in 1981 and qualified as an ACA at Peat Marwick (KPMG) in 1985. Among other interests John is a Director of The Titsey Estate Company and a Trustee of The Chevening Estate.

Nick Talbot
Nick Talbot is Professor of Molecular Genetics and Executive Director of The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park.

Nick’s research is focused on the biology of plant diseases. He uses a range of cell biology, genetics and genomics approaches in his research and, in particular, investigates the biology of plant infection by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. He is interested in fungal infection-related development and understanding how fungi are able to invade plant tissue and suppress plant immunity.His work has been continuously supported by BBSRC since 1994.

He was previously Head of the School of Biosciences (2004-10) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact (2010-18) at The University of Exeter. He also served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Rothamsted Research (2009-14), Chair of the Council of the Sainsbury Laboratory (2009-18), Chair of the GW4 Research Alliance (2015-18) and Chair of the Great West Taskforce which authored and implemented the South West England and South-East Wales Science and Innovation Audit.

Jason Vincent
Jason is Vice President of Tropic Biosciences he is a biotechnologist with more than 20 years of experience in the agtech industry spanning plant biotechnology, crop protection chemistry and new technologies.

In his previous role as Head of Synthetic Biology in Syngenta’s Global R&D organisation he created a portfolio of cross-disciplinary projects and external collaborations delivering innovative and sustainable technologies for agriculture.

Judith Armitage
Judith (Judy) Armitage received her BSc and PhD from UCL and after a Lister Fellowship moved to the Biochemistry Department at University of Oxford, where she has been ever since.

She is a bacterial physiologist with a particular interest in how bacteria move and sense their environment to direct that movement to an optimal environment for growth. She uses a wide range of methods from single molecule tracking of proteins in living cells through to computational modelling and believes strongly in collaboration across disciplines.

Judy has trained over 40 PhD students and over 40 postdocs. She is a member of EMBO, a Member and Governor of the Lister Institute, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the European Academy of Microbiology and the Royal Society, where she sits on the Council. She is currently President of the Microbiology Society. She is married with two children and two grandchildren.

Jef Grainger (Observer)
Jef is Associate Director of Science Strategy (interim) at BBSRC.

He has experience of strategy setting and delivery across a broad range of BBSRC’s research priority areas. He was closely involved in the early strategy work underpinning BBSRC’s capital investment in the Quadram Institute. He also worked on part-secondment to the Government Office of Science to contribute to development of the joint publication with Defra ‘UK Animal and Plant Health in the UK: building out science capability’, and led on drafting of a ‘vision and high-level research strategy for UK animal and plant health research’, an early partnership action stemming from that work.

Jef gained an honours degree in plant science from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in plant molecular biology from the University of Cambridge. He undertook a period of postdoctoral research in plant-virus interactions at the John Innes Centre before moving to BBSRC Office in 2004.

Tina Barsby (Observer)
Tina, a plant geneticist well-known for her scientific achievements and significant experience in the agricultural crop sector, is the CEO of NIAB.

Tina has led and managed multifaceted, product driven, research and development programmes in North America and UK/mainland Europe. She has a first degree in agricultural botany from the University of Wales at Bangor, and a PhD from the University of Nottingham. She spent a postdoctoral period at Kansas State University, and worked at Allelix Inc, Ontario, Canada for several years before returning to the UK in 1989. Tina then joined Nickerson UK (now part of the LG Group) where she remained until joining NIAB in 2006.

Mark Searcey (Observer)
Mark Searcey is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of East Anglia. His research focusses on the design and synthesis of new agents for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases, often using natural products as a starting point.

Following his degree in chemistry (Loughborough), PhD in medicinal chemistry (Herts) and a post-doctoral position in Queen Mary College studying catalytic antibodies, Mark spent five years as a research scientist at St Luke’s Institute for Cancer Research, Dublin, before moving to take a position as Assistant Professor in Chemistry at Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California. He then joined the School of Pharmacy, University of London before moving to UEA in 2006. He was previously Head of the Schools of Pharmacy and Chemistry at UEA.

Science and Impact Advisory Board

The John Innes Centre Governing Council approved the appointment of a Science and Impact Advisory Board.

This board advises the Director and Governing Council on all aspects of the John Innes Centre’s science programme, assessing progress and identifying new opportunities and activities.

Professor Judith Armitage (Chair)
Professor Judith (Judy) Armitage received her BSc and PhD from UCL and after a Lister Fellowship moved to the Biochemistry Department at University of Oxford, where she has been ever since.

She is a bacterial physiologist with a particular interest in how bacteria move and sense their environment to direct that movement to an optimal environment for growth. She uses a wide range of methods from single molecule tracking of proteins in living cells through to computational modelling and believes strongly in collaboration across disciplines.

Judy has trained over 40 PhD students and over 40 postdocs. She is a member of EMBO, a Member and Governor of the Lister Institute, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the European Academy of Microbiology and the Royal Society, where she sits on the Council. She is currently President of the Microbiology Society. She is married with two children and two grandchildren.

Professor David Wild
David is part of the Department of Statistics and Zeeman Institute at the University of Warwick.

His research interests are in the field of statistical bioinformatics; in particular in the application of Bayesian statistical machine learning techniques to problems in systems biology, functional genomics and proteomics.

Professor Christian Hertwerk
Christian Hertweck is the Head of Department Biomolecular Chemistry and Deputy Director at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (HKI), and a Full Professor in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

His research focuses on the discovery of microbial natural products, elucidating and harnessing their biosynthesis (genome mining, pathway engineering), and studying the molecular basis of microbial interactions.

Christian obtained his PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry in 1999 at the University of Bonn and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology  and spent a year as postdoc (Humboldt fellow) at the University of Washington, Seattle. He then started his independent research and earned the venia legendi in Organic Chemistry in 2006.

He is the speaker of the Collaborative Research Center ChemBioSys and executive board member of the Cluster of Excellence, Balance of the Microverse.

In recognition of his group’s contribution to the field he was granted numerous awards including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, and was elected as member of the German National Academy (Leopoldina) in 2015.

Professor Regine Kahmann
Regine Kahmann is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany, where she heads the department of Organismic Interactions.

Her research uses the corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis as a model to uncover basic principles of plant diseases. A present focus of her work concerns secreted protein effectors, how they downregulate plant defense responses, modulate the host metabolism to benefit the pathogen and how they are delivered into host cells.

Regine received her diploma in Biology in 1972 in Göttingen and her PhD from the FU Berlin in 1974. After an extended stay at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory initially as postdoc and subsequently as junior group leader she returned to Germany and held research associate and group leader positions at the MPI for Biochemistry in Martinsried, at the MPI for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and at the IGF Berlin GmbH.

Subsequently, she was full professor for genetics at the LMU in Munich between 1992 and 2001 before moving to her current position in Marburg and becoming full professor for Genetics at the Philipps-Universität Marburg.

Professor Jane Langdale
Jane Langdale is Professor of Plant Development in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford.

Her research focuses on understanding the genetic mechanisms that underpin how leaves develop and how they evolved.

She is currently co-ordinator of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded C4 Rice Project.

Dr Viktor Korzun
Viktor is Global Lead Scientific Affairs at KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA.

He has more than 25 years’ experience in development molecular breeding and novel breeding technologies in cereal crops, establishment, participation and coordination of national and international projects and strategic evaluation of current and new development in area of plant research and molecular breeding

Professor George Coupland
George Coupland is a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne and a Professor of Genetics at the University of Cologne.

His research group studies how plant development is influenced by environmental signals. He uses Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, and recently developed its relative Arabis alpina as a comparative perennial system. His group has defined mechanisms by which plants detect and flower in response to daylength and how annual and perennial life histories diverge during evolution.

George graduated with an Honours Degree in Microbiology from the University of Glasgow and a PhD in Molecular Biology from Edinburgh University. After carrying out a postdoc at the University of Cologne and the Max Planck Institute in Cologne he was appointed as a Research Group Leader at the John Innes Centre in 1989. He moved to his current position in 2001.

He is a Member of EMBO, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.

Professor Ben Davis
Ben’s group’s research centres on the chemical understanding and exploitation of biomolecular function, with an emphasis on carbohydrates and proteins.

In particular, their interests encompass synthesis and methodology; target biomolecule synthesis; inhibitor/probe/substrate design; biocatalysis; enzyme and biomolecule mechanism; biosynthetic pathway determination; protein engineering; drug delivery; molecular biology; structural biology; cell biology; glycobiology; molecular imaging and in vivo biology.