Our Board’s biographies



Professor Charles Mgone (Chair)

Charles Mgone is Vice Chancellor of Hubert Kairuki Memorial University based in Tanzania. Prior to his new role, he  served as Executive Director of European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) from January 2007 to December 2015. His role was to lead in the coordination of European Member States’ national programmers on poverty-related and neglected disease and work in partnerships with sub-Saharan Africa and other parties to accelerate research and development of medical interventions against these diseases. Before joining EDCTP, Charles was the Network Director of the African Malaria Network Trust with responsibility for coordinating the African response to the malaria burden through accelerating the development of malaria vaccines and other interventions. Charles is a strong advocate for African national ownership and local investment in health research.


Professor Ibrahim Abubakar

Ibrahim Abubakar is Director of the UCL Institute for Global Health. He led the UCL Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology, UCL-TB and was a senior investigator at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit. He was head of TB at Public Health England. Prior to his appointment at UCL, he was Professor in Health Protection at the Norwich Medical School. He qualified in medicine in 1992 and initially trained in general medicine before specialising in public health medicine. His academic public health training was undertaken at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia.  He serves on/chairs several expert/advisory groups for the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.


Professor Daniel Altmann

Danny Altmann is an active research scientist.  He has run a lab at the Hammersmith Hospital Campus of Imperial College since moving to the site for the opening of the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Sciences Centre in 1994.

His main research interests are the study of adaptive immunity in human disease including severe bacterial infection and autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis.  Danny took two and a half years out of bench research from 2011 to work with the Wellcome Trust on strategy for biomedical research funding initiatives in infection, immunity and population health. He is Editor-in-Chief of ‘Immunology’ and Associate Editor of ‘Vaccine’ journals.

He is a trustee of the Medical Research Foundation.


 Dr Ralph Clemens

Ralf Clemens is Principal and Founder of GRID EUROPE Consulting, a consulting firm specialized in the field of infectious diseases. Mr. Clemens has been working in the vaccine industry since 1988 and has held various senior scientific and business positions such as VP Global Vaccines Development (1991-2000) and VP Vaccines and Pharmaceutical Business (2001-2006) at GSK. Thereafter, he served as VP and Head Global Vaccine Development at Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics (2006-2011), and as SVP and Head for Takeda’s global vaccine division (2012-2015). Mr. Clemens has also been a Senior Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2012. Mr. Clemens has been a member of the CureVac

Supervisory Board since March 2016. Prior to his appointment to the Board, he also served on AREF’s Advisory Panel.


 Dr Wendy Ewart

Wendy Ewart served as Deputy Chief Executive and Chief of Strategy at the Medical Research Council from 2012 until 2014 where she was responsible for the development and communication of its research strategy and impact while directing international policy, including global health, and leading the overall approach to planning and evaluation across the MRC. In this capacity, she was a Director of UK Biobank and the Francis Crick Institute. Prior to this, Wendy was Director of Strategy for the MRC from 2008 with responsibility for the development of the MRC’s Strategic Plan ‘Research Changes Lives’. Before joining the MRC she worked at the Wellcome Trust (1991-2003) managing funding programmes, including those for the developing world and was Head of Research Strategy at the Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College from 2003 to 2008.


 Mr George Fowlis

George Fowlis is a Consultant Urological Surgeon in independent practice for the last 5 years, with 20 years overall consultant experience in all aspects of urology. He has subspecialty interests in oncology and paediatrics.

George practices at various hospitals in Greater London, providing a patient-focused service in most areas of urology, particularly oncology, stone surgery, endourology & paediatrics.



Professor Rose Leke

Emeritus Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke is Professor of Immunology and Parasitology, a Fellow of the Cameroon Academy of Sciences.  Until March 2013 she was Head of Department at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde 1, and Director of the Biotechnology Centre. She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Medical Research Institute, IMPM, and serves as Vice President of the Scientific Committee of Cameroon First Lady’s Research Centre (CIRCB). She was invited as the 2014 Aggrey-Fraser-Guggisberg Memorial Lecturer at the University of Ghana, and was awarded the Doctor Honoris Causa (DSc).

In 2011, she was one of six women who received the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award for Women, and received the 2012 award for Excellence in Science from The Cameroon Professional Society. She was elected International Honorary Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene ASTMH in 2015. She is a member of the Gairdner Foundation Global Health Award Advisory Committee. She is Executive Director of the Cameroon Coalition against malaria, and  Chair of the Multilateral Initiative in Malaria (MIM) Secretariat.

She was President of the Federation of African Immunological Societies, a Council member of the International Union of Immunological Societies for two terms.

She has served and still serves as a consultant on many committees for the World Health Organization (WHO): the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC), Chair of the African Regional Commission for the Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis (ARCC), a member of the Global Certification Commission (GCC). She has been a member and Chair of the African Advisory Committee for Health Research (AACHR), a member of the Global ACHR, a Board member of the Global Forum for Health Research, and since 2013 serves on the WHO Emergency Committee for Polio eradication.

She has served as Vice-Chair of the Technical Evaluation Reference group (TERG) of the Global Fund, Chair of the Data Management Committee  for a trial on Azithromycin-chloroquine, is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) for Ebola vaccine trials in Guinea. Her research interest is in the immunology of parasitic infections, particularly Malaria. She has a keen interest in Global Health issues, and is very particular about Health Systems Strengthening.


 Professor Francine Ntoumi

Francine Ntoumi is currently Chair and Executive Director of the  Congolese Foundation for Medical Research and Senior Lecturer on  Immunology at the Faculty of Sciences and Techniques of University  Marien NGouabi, Republic of Congo. She is also Associate Professor at  the University of Tübingen in Germany. Francine’s background is in  molecular epidemiology and immunology of malaria and she has spent the  past 20 years serving different institutions as the Multilateral  Initiative on Malaria Coordinator (2007-2010). Prior to 2007, she was  Senior Scientific Officer at the European and Developing Countries  Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP). In 2010, Le Metropolis magazine  made her one of Congo’s top 50 women to make their mark on the  country’s history and in 2014 on the top list of the most influential women at the regional level. Francine is member of several scientific  committees and international scientific networks in Africa and Europe.

Since January 2009, she has been highly involved in developing health  research capacity at national level through the Congolese foundation  for Medical Research and at regional level through the regional  network of excellence, Central Africa Network on Tuberculosis,  HIV/AIDS and Malaria. In 2012, Francine received the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Regional Scientific Award for women, and the Reseau International des Congolais de l’Etranger prize for her contribution in health research in Congo. In 2014, she was awarded the Georg Forster Prize in Germany and in 2016, the Christophe Merieux Prize in France for her career in malaria research and contribution in infectious diseases research respectively.


 Mr Mark Radford

Mark Radford is a consultant, a partner in a biotechnology R&D venture and a mentor to international graduate Public Policy students at the University of Oxford.  Previously he was CEO of the Magdi Yacoub Research Network, a ‘social profit’ start-up building research capacity and clinical service for the cardiovascular sector in the MENA region, and until April 2009 was the Director of Operations for the MRC Unit, the Gambia.  Before joining the MRC, Mark headed a specialist medical procurement company operating in the humanitarian, government and multilateral spaces, and spent 10 years with Oxfam and Save the Children, developing and leading a number of high profile emergency interventions across Africa.


 Mrs Susan Wilkinson

Sue was a member of the National Trust’s executive board and her portfolio of responsibilities included membership, fundraising, volunteering and participation until she retired at the end of 2016. She is a Board Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions and a Trustee of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, the Churches Conservation Trust and the Canal & River Trust. Sue has previously served on the Visit England Board and as a Trustee of the Institute of Fundraising.

She is a trustee of the Medical Research Foundation.

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