Board of Governors

Our Board of Governors have ultimate responsibility for what Wellcome does. 

Portrait of Wellcome Chair, Eliza Manningham-Buller


Eliza Manningham-Buller, LG, DCB

Date of appointment: 1 August 2008

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

After a career which included a posting to the British Embassy in Washington, Eliza became Deputy Director General, with responsibility for operations, before leading MI5 as Director General from 2002 to 2007.

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

Eliza joined Wellcome as a governor in 2008 and the Council of Imperial College in 2009. She was the Chair of Council from 2011 to 2015.

In 2011, Eliza gave the Reith lectures with Aung San Suu Kyi on Securing Freedom.

In 2015, she became the Co-President of Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs.

LG: Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter

DCB: Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Kay Davies

Deputy chair

Professor Dame Kay Davies CBE, FRS, FMedSci

Date of appointment: 1 January 2008

She is Dr Lee's Professor of Anatomy and Associate Head, Development, Impact and Equality, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, and Honorary Director of the MRC Functional Genomics Unit.

Kay's research interests cover the molecular analysis of neuromuscular and neurological disease, particularly Duchenne muscular dystrophy. She has considerable experience of biotechnology companies as a conduit for translating the results of experimental science into new therapeutics and diagnostics.

She is a founding editor of 'Human Molecular Genetics' and a founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She has an active interest in the ethical implications of genetics research and the public understanding of science.

Kay is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization. 

DBE: Dame Commander of the British Empire

CBE: Commander of the British Empire

FMedSci: Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

FRS: Fellow of the Royal Society

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 15 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 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 Alan Brown

Alan Brown FSIP

Date of appointment: 1 May 2012

Alan Brown read natural sciences at the University of Cambridge before starting a career in the investment management industry, where he worked for almost 40 years. He has held positions as a chief investment officer for the past 23 years, most recently as an Executive Director at Schroders.

Alan's other responsibilities include Chair of the Board of the Carbon Disclosure Project, and Chair of the Board of the Westway Trust. He is a non-executive director of Pool Reinsurance Company, a scheme established to provide cover for losses arising from terrorism. Previously he was a Director of the Investment Management Association and an alternate member of the Takeover Panel.

FSIP: Fellow of the Society of Investment Professionals

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Damon Buffini

Sir Damon Buffini

Date of appointment: 1 September 2012

Damon Buffini was educated at St John's College, University of Cambridge, where he read law, and at Harvard Business School, where he gained an MBA. He is a founding partner of Permira, a European private equity firm with global reach. He was managing partner from 1999 to 2007 and Chair from 2007 to 2010.

Under his leadership, Permira's funds under management grew from €1.9 billion to over €20 billion and the firm expanded its international network of offices from four to 12. Over the same period, Permira helped to grow and build numerous successful businesses across Europe, including Homebase, Inmarsat and global aviation services group Jet Aviation.

Damon is Chair of the Board at the National Theatre, Chair of the Royal Anniversary Trust, which administers The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education, and Senior Independent Director of the European Golf Tour. He is also co-founder of Social Business Trust, an initiative to grow social enterprises by using the knowledge, skills and capital of UK businesses.

In June 2016 Damon was knighted for his voluntary and charitable services.

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Bill Burns

William Burns

Date of appointment: 1 April 2016

William (Bill) Burns is an independent non-executive director of Shire Pharmaceuticals and Mesoblast, Vice-Chair of Vestergaard-Frandsen and Chair of Biotie Therapeutics. 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 CEO of the global pharmaceuticals division of Roche Holdings from 2001 to 2009.

Since 2010, he has chaired the funding committee of the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, a partnership between Wellcome and the Department of Health.

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Michael Ferguson

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

Date of appointment: 1 January 2012

Mike Ferguson is Regius Professor of Life Sciences and Associate Dean for Research Strategy in the College 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 also directs a proteomics facility that supports much of the work of the college and clinical biomarker discovery projects with colleagues at the medical school.

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 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. He 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

Portrait of Wellcome Governor Anne Johnson

Professor Dame Anne Johnson MD, FMedSci, FRCP, FFPH, FRCGP

Date of appointment: 1 January 2011

Anne Johnson is Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Chair of the Population Health Domain, and Vice Dean for external and international relations in the Faculty of Population Health at University College London. She was formerly Director of the university's Division of Population Health.

After training in medicine at the University of Cambridge and Newcastle University, she specialised in epidemiology and public health and has a clinical research career spanning over 30 years.

Her research interests focus on the epidemiology and prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. This includes sexual lifestyle studies, international HIV cohort studies, behavioural intervention studies, and the epidemiological and immunological determinants of seasonal and pandemic influenza transmission.

Anne is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was made Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2013.

DBE: Dame Commander of the British Empire

FMedSci: Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

FRCP: Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians

FFPH: Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health

FRCGP: Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners