Board of Governors

Our Board of Governors has ultimate responsibility for Wellcome's activities. 

Portrait of Wellcome Chair, Eliza Manningham-Buller


Eliza Manningham-Buller, LG, DCB, FMedSci

Date of appointment: 1 August 2008

Eliza Manningham-Buller has been Chair of Wellcome since 2015, having served as a Governor since 2008. Wellcome is a global charity which exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. She leads a Board of Governors drawn from the worlds of science, business and public life.

In 2015, Eliza became the Co-President of Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs. She served on the Council of Imperial College from 2009 and was Chair of Council from 2011 to 2015.

She was appointed an independent, crossbench peer in the House of Lords in 2008, and has been a member of the Privileges and Conduct Committee, the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, and the Science and Technology Committee.

Previously, Eliza had a career with MI5 for more than 30 years, including a posting to the British Embassy in Washington. She served as Director General from 2002 to 2007 and before that was Deputy Director General, with responsibility for operations.

Eliza was educated at Benenden School and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She taught for three years before joining MI5 in 1974.

LG: Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
DCB: Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Michael Ferguson

Deputy Chair

Professor Michael A J Ferguson CBE, FRS, FRSE, FMedSci

Date of appointment: 1 January 2012

Mike Ferguson is Regius Professor of Life Sciences and academic lead for Research Strategy in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. His personal research takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the biochemistry of protozoan parasites that cause tropical diseases. He believes in the fundamental importance of working across the biology-chemistry interface and in interdisciplinary research in general.

He is particularly interested in translational research and, together with his colleagues, established the Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee and led the construction of the Discovery Centre (for Translational and Interdisciplinary Research).

He co-directs a proteomics facility that supports much of the work of his colleagues in the Schools of Life Sciences and Medicine. He is also a Board member of Amphista Therapeutics.

CBE: Commander of the British Empire
FRS: Fellow of the Royal Society
FRSE: Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
FMedSci: Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Tobias Bonhoeffer

Professor Tobias Bonhoeffer

Date of appointment: 1 September 2014

Tobias Bonhoeffer is Director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology and Professor at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. He is one of the world’s foremost researchers in systems neuroscience. He studies synaptic plasticity in the brain focusing on learning, memory and how the brain adapts to its environment.

Tobias served for more than 20 years as department head at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology and later also as Chair of the Biomedical Section of the Max Planck Society. He has been a member of the scientific advisory boards of numerous leading Institutions, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the ETH Zurich, the Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Tobias is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, the Academia Europaea and the European Molecular Biology Organization. He has been awarded the Ernst-Jung Prize for Medicine.

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Bill Burns

William Burns

Date of appointment: 1 April 2016

William 'Bill' Burns is Chair of Vestergaard and Molecular Partners, and Vice-Chair of Mesoblast. He also serves as a trustee of the Institute of Cancer Research.

Bill has over 40 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry. He was a senior independent director of Shire Pharmaceuticals until April 2018 and was CEO of the global pharmaceuticals division of Roche Holdings from 2001 to 2009.

He previously chaired the funding committee of the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, a partnership between Wellcome and the Department of Health.

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Bryan Grenfell

Professor Bryan Grenfell OBE, FRS

Date of appointment: 1 September 2014

Bryan Grenfell is the Kathryn Briger and Sarah Fenton Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He is jointly appointed at the Woodrow Wilson School and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

With over 30 years’ experience researching the population dynamics of infectious diseases, his research focuses on the epidemiology, evolution and vaccination control of infections such as measles and influenza. Bryan has advised the UK government and the World Health Organization on the mathematical modelling and control of a variety of infectious diseases.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has also been awarded the T H Huxley Medal from Imperial College and the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London.

OBE: Order of the British Empire
FRS: Fellow of the Royal Society

Fiona Powrie

Fiona Powrie, FRS, FMedSci

Date of appointment: 1 January 2018

Fiona Powrie is Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford. She gained a PhD in immunology from the University of Oxford and then moved to the DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto. She returned to the University of Oxford in 1996 where she was the Sidney Truelove Professor of Gastroenterology and Head of the Translational Gastroenterology Unit from 2009-2014.

Fiona’s research is focused on interactions between the intestinal microbiome and the immune system. She identified the role of regulatory T cells in controlling intestinal inflammation and established the cytokine IL-23 as a therapeutic target in inflammatory bowel disease. She is particularly interested in translating basic research into clinical application. She leads the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre’s Gastroenterology and Mucosal Immunology theme and recently established the Accelerated Therapy for Arthritis Programme, a clinical research network designed to increase the testing of novel therapies in the clinic.

She serves on a number of scientific advisory boards including the Lister Institute, the Imagine Institute in Paris and the Evergrande Centre in Boston.  She received the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 2012 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011, EMBO in 2013 and the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014.

FRS: Fellow of the Royal Society
FMedSci: Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences