Strategic Advisory Board

The DTP Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) consists of representatives from Industry, key stakeholders and other DTPs. The SAB is not a scientific advisory board and does not have formal oversight of the DTP Management Board. The SAB acts as a ‘critical friend’ to the DTP:

  • Advising and providing feedback on DTP processes through transfer of best practise
  • Providing training and advice to DTP students
  • Broadening the horizons and capabilities of the DTP students
  • Assisting with continuation of the DTP funding, most recently by contributing to the Doctoral Landscape Award application.

The SAB attends the DTP Annual General Meeting each summer to run training and networking sessions for the students. The AGM also provides the backdrop for the joint SAB-MAB meeting to discuss the current state of play of the DTP and plans moving forward.

The Strategic Advisory Board consists of:

  • Dr Suzanne Gibson (Astra Zeneca, representing the industrial sector)
  • Dr Jillian Barlow (Generation Research, representing EDI organisations)
  • Dr Andy Merritt (LifeArc, representing the charitable sector)
  • Professor Rick Mumford (Food Standards Agency, representing the governmental sector)
  • Professor Zoe Wilson (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences DTP, University of Nottingham, representing other DTPs)

See below for the biographies for each of our SAB members.

Dr Suzanne Gibson

Principal Scientist, AstraZeneca

Dr Suzanne Gibson is a Principal Scientist in the Cell Line Development and Engineering team at AstraZeneca, based in Cambridge, UK. Suzanne has over 20 years’ experience in generating mammalian cell lines for the production of biotherapeutics including antibodies, multi-specific formats, and fusion proteins. Suzanne also leads internal and external collaborations, focussed on novel research and evaluation of technologies and procedures to improve cell line and bioreactor process development, and support the AZ product pipeline.

Dr Jillian Barlow

Senior Lecturer, University of York

Jillian has worked in the fields of human and mouse cellular immunology, specifically the innate immune response, for almost 20 years, first at The Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK) and then as part of the faculty in the Biology Department at the University of York. Her work, always within collaborative teams, has led to many novel discoveries in the area of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in skin, lung, and intestine, and more recently in the development and function of NK cells (ILC1s). Indeed, the work she has contributed to has been field-changing in our understanding of how the type 2 immune response is initiated at the mucosal surface. This has led directly to her current involvement as Co-I in two flagship consortia grants (Biomedical ResearchCentre, NIHR, £17.8M, inflammation workstream and Mouse Genetics Network, MRC, £1.8M). She is also named as an inventor on two patents concerned with blocking the IL-25 pathway as a therapeutic in type 2-related diseases such as allergic asthma.

This strong research background has also led to her involvement in research-led teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at University of York, culminating in her role as Head of the Biomedical degree Programme. This important link between high impact research, teaching, and training has also driven the establishment of GenerationResearch, a project that Jillian founded to provide funded summer studentship experiences, Master by Research degrees, and PhD degrees to students from all backgrounds in order to widen access to a career in science.

Dr Andy Merritt

Head of Academic Engagement, LifeArc

Dr Andy Merritt’s current role is Head of Academic Engagement for LifeArc, looking to support and develop early career talent in STEM areas across all stages of academic study from A-level through to postdoctoral research positions. Prior to taking on this new role this year, Andy was Head of Chemistry at the LifeArc (formerly MRC Technology) Centre for Therapeutics Discovery (CTD) for over 13 years. In close collaboration with academic scientists, the CTD developed and subsequently prosecuted innovative drug discovery programmes emerging from academic research. During this time small molecule assets in oncology and neuroscience were partnered with pharmaceutical companies for ongoing clinical development. In addition, tool compounds, supporting research in both these areas and in diseases of the developing world, were optimised, published and shared across the global research community at no cost. LifeArc also supports academic research group access to compound screening collections covering a range of target classes and technologies.

Before joining LifeArc (MRCT) in 2009 Andy was a Director of Discovery Medicinal Chemistry at GlaxoSmithKline, covering early lead discovery from screening campaigns, global responsibility for outsource support for lead discovery chemistry and the supply of tool compounds for target validation. Between 1995 and 2001 as part of the GlaxoWellcome organisation he led interdisciplinary teams focusing on lead discovery and optimisation incorporating the development of new chemical technologies. Andy joined the former Glaxo organization as a senior medicinal chemist in 1988 following postdoctoral studies in the US.

Andy sat on the RSC Chemistry World editorial board between 2003 and 2019 and has been a regular undergraduate lecturer in pharmaceutical medicine at Imperial College, Warwick and Sussex universities.

Professor Rick Mumford

Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor & Deputy Director of Science & Research

Professor Rick Mumford is Deputy Chief Science Advisory (dCSA) and Deputy Director of Science & Research at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), where he co-leads a multi-disciplinary team of over 160 scientists, providing expert risk assessment and scientific evidence to support UK food safety and standards. A virologist and molecular biologist by training, he has over 28 years’ experience, as both a practising, applied scientist (focusing on diagnostics, biosecurity and agrifood innovation), and as a science leader, including senior roles up to executive level, within government and the private sector. An author on over 75 scientific publications, Rick is a Visiting Professor of Practice at Newcastle University and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. He also leads on the cross-government PATH-SAFE Programme and engaging across the agri-food innovation and research community.