The Africa Research Excellence Fund operates from the Gambia and London.

We have a small and dedicated team, who are determined to make a difference:

Professor Tumani Corrah KBE CBE MRG

Professor Corrah, who is Gambian, has over thirty years of progressively senior-level research and leadership experience, ten years of which were as the Unit Director of the Medical Research Council’s Unit, the Gambia.

He is medically qualified and has retained active research interests in tropical and infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria.

Professor Corrah is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and is a member of over twenty scientific board and committee groups worldwide.

He is the Emeritus Director of the MRC Unit in The Gambia.

Dr Peter Dukes
Associate Director of Programme

Dr Peter Dukes works with Professor Corrah on the development of AREF’s strategy and policy; he is responsible for developing the Awards and Academy Programmes for emerging researchers.

Originally trained as a parasitologist, Dr Dukes carried out research in Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Nigeria.

He has held various senior research management posts since 1990 at the Medical Research Council in London.

Maria Bellocci
Head of Business Development and Resources

Maria joined AREF in June 2018 as the Head of Business Development and Resources.

Maria’s focus is operational efficiency and improvements and ensuring statutory compliance and effective budget management.

Prior to joining AREF, Maria worked for charity Whizz-Kidz. During her 11 years there she was responsible for customer services, procurement, budgets and NHS contracts.

Irene Coker
Training Events Manager

As AREF’s Training & Events Manager, Irene has a crucial role in delivering AREF’s workshops and development programmes. Irene previously worked at QCell Ltd, a provider of telecommunication services in The Gambia.







Lamin Sanneh
Academy Training Events Officer

Lamin’s key role as AREF’s Academy Training Events Officer is to help manage and administer the AREF Research Development Fellowships and other Awards.He is a Gambian and has significant experience in HR and Project Management.




Denise Ganley - Finance Manager


Emily Rudolph - Grants Officer


Susanna Roberts - Research Manager


Rachel Tyler - Communications Officer