Committee chair: Sara Sorrell


Sir Tim Hunt
Nobel Prize Winner, Cancer Research UK

Sir Tim Hunt is a Principal Scientist at Cancer Research UK, Clare Hall Laboratories, in South Mimms, Hertfordshire. Dr Hunt was born in 1943 and lived in Oxford until he was 18 years old and went up to Cambridge to read Natural Sciences where he spent almost 30 years working on the control of protein synthesis. It was here (1982) that he discovered cyclins, which led to a share of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001, together with Lee Hartwell and Paul Nurse. Dr Hunt is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, a Member of EMBO, a Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Member of Academia Europaea. In 2006 he was awarded the Royal Medal for his discovery of the key aspects of cell cycle control and knighted that same year.


Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald
MRC Cambridge Cancer Centre

Dr Fitzgerald always wanted to be a doctor, so she studied medicine at Cambridge and qualified in 1992. She then moved to Stanford University where she joined the lab of George Triadafilopoulos, an oesophageal cancer specialist. She was awarded a grant from the Association of International Cancer Research in Dundee to carry out research into oesophageal cancer; and at the same time, she registered to study for a research doctorate through Cambridge University. Then in 1999, Dr Fitzgerald applied for an MRC clinical fellowship, which allowed her to finish her clinical training. She wanted to come back to Cambridge and so applied for a position as a group leader at the new Cancer Cell Unit. She has been there ever since. Amongst her numerous awards, most notably, Dr Fitzgerald won the Westminster Medal in 2004 for communicating her work to politicians and the public.


Prof. Josef Penninger
Scientific Director of the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA)

Josef Penninger is the Scientific Director of the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA), Professor in the Department of Immunology and Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto; Professor of Genetics at the University of Vienna; and Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. He made the list of 10 most cited scientists in the world two years in a row and has a steady stream of significant breakthrough across the breadth of medical research behind him. His main research interests are heart, lung, pain, cancer and bone disease. He was named by various entities as one of the 10 most promising scientists in all fields of science and one of the 10 most interesting people in America. He was also awarded the Austrian Scientist of the Year and was recently elected to the German Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina.


Prof. Anne Willis
Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit, Leicester

Professor Anne Willis obtained a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Kent (1984). She holds a PhD in Biochemistry (1987) from University of London (Imperial College). Her PhD was carried out in the CRUK laboratories at Clare Hall. She then worked in the University of Cambridge, Department of Biochemistry (1988-1992) and held a Junior Research Fellowship (1988-1992) and a College Lectureship (1991-1992) at Churchill College Cambridge. She moved to the University of Leicester in 1992 to take up a Lectureship (1992-2000), Readership (2002- 2004) and Chair (2004) in the department of Biochemistry. She was also awarded a BBSRC Advanced Fellowship during this period (2000-2005). She moved to the University of Nottingham as Professor of Cancer Cell Biology in 2004 and was appointed BBSRC Professorial Fellow (2008-2013). Earlier on this year (2010), she moved to become Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit at Leicester.


Prof. Geraint Rees
Director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

Geraint Rees is Director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Professor of Cognitive Neurology. After medical training in Cambridge, Oxford and London, he completed his PhD degree at University College London’s Functionallmaging Laboratory in 1999. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology before returning to the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London in 2001. In 2002 he became a group leader with the award of a Senior Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London. In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. His work focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying human consciousness in health and disease. Most of his research involves functional MRI at high field, in combination with behavioural studies, transcranial magnetic stimulation and EEG/MEG.

Prof. Helen Rees
Founder and Executive Director of the Reproductive Health and HIV Research Institute of the University of Witwatersrand

Prof Rees received her medical degree and her Masters in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and in 2002 became an alumnus of Harvard Business School. She is the eo-chair of South Africa’s National AIDS Council’s Programme Implementing Committee and a member of the National Advisory Group on Immunisations. She served as the chair of South Africa’s Medicines Control Council and was a member of the National Research Ethics Committee. Prof Rees has a research interest in HIV/AIDS prevention, STls, microbicides, HIV and HPV vaccines, and broader issues relating to women’s health. Prof Rees is currently chair of the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation.