The Genomics England Board

The Genomics England Board oversees all of our activities, ratifies all major decisions and sets the overall strategy for the organisation. Genomics England has several independent advisory committees that report to the board. These include the Ethics Advisory Committee, Science Advisory Committee, Data Advisory Committee, Access Review Committee, GeCIP Board and the Audit Committee.

Nicola became Chair of Genomics England in May 2020. She is a member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, and is also an Honorary Professor of Science and Public Policy at UCL. She served as the Minister for Innovation in the Department for Health and Social Care under two Prime Ministers, where her responsibilities included research, life sciences and NHS innovation; medicines pricing and regulation; data, digital and technology, including cyber security; international health diplomacy and global health security; and rare diseases.

Nicola was born in Johannesburg in 1979 to a South African nurse and an English cardiologist who were working at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. On their return to the UK, her parents worked for nearly 30 years in the NHS giving her first-hand knowledge of some of the challenges facing the health service.

She was first elected as an MP for Oxford West and Abingdon in 2010 and chaired the Science & Technology Select Committee, before becoming a Minister. She became Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford in 2019. Since leaving the Commons she has been Chair of the Human Tissue Authority, a Board Member of Oxford University Innovations’ Advisory Board, and held a number of other public and private board positions.

Prior to joining Genomics England, Chris was COO at QuantumBlack, a bespoke machine learning and AI technology company, and a Partner at McKinsey working on technology strategy topics.

He also previously worked for the UK Foreign Office (Counter Terrorism Policy Department), and at the BBC. He has held board roles at the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, Entrepreneur First and Magic Breakfast.

Sir Jonathan Symonds, CBE was appointed as Chairman to the GlaxoSmithKline plc Board on 1 September 2019. Jon has extensive international financial, life sciences and governance experience.

Jon served as an Independent Non-Executive Director of HSBC Holdings plc from April 2014, and as Deputy Group Chairman from August 2018, until his retirement from the Board in February 2020. He was previously Chairman of HSBC Bank plc, Chief Financial Officer of Novartis AG, Partner and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, Chief Financial Officer of AstraZeneca plc, and a Partner at KPMG. His governance experience includes roles as Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committees of Diageo plc, QinetiQ Group plc and Non-Executive Chair of Proteus Digital Health Inc.

Jon is currently a Non-Executive Director of Rubius Therapeutics, Inc and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Professor Sir John Bell FRS is Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, and Chairman of the Office for the Strategic Coordination of Health Research. He recently stepped down as President of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2006-2011). As a Rhodes Scholar (1975-78), Sir John undertook his medical training in the UK and then went on to Stanford University, returning to the UK in 1987. His research interests are in the area of autoimmune disease and immunology where he has contributed to the understanding of immune activation in a range of autoimmune diseases. In 1993, he founded the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, one of the world’s leading centres for complex trait common disease genetics.

Sir John was responsible for the working party that produced the highly influential Academy of Medical Sciences “Strengthening Clinical Research” report that highlighted the need for the UK to focus some of its attention on developing expertise in translational research. In December 2011, Sir John was appointed one of two UK Life Sciences Champions by the Prime Minister.

Ewan Birney is Deputy Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Director of EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). He played a vital role in annotating the genome sequences of human, mouse, chicken and several other organisms; this work has had a profound impact on our understanding of genomic biology. Ewan also led the analysis group for the ENCODE project, which is defining functional elements in the human genome. His current areas of research include functional genomics, assembly algorithms, statistical methods to analyse genomic information and compression of sequence information.

Ewan completed his PhD at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute with Richard Durbin, and worked in the laboratories of leading scientists Adrian Krainer, Toby Gibson and Iain Campbell. He received the 2003 Francis Crick Award from the Royal Society, the 2005 Overton Prize from the International Society for Computational Biology and the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award for contributions in Open Source Bioinformatics. Ewan was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014, was appointed Honorary Professor of Bioinformatics at the Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine in 2015 and became a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in the same year.

Michael is Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford. He is a member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics Working Group on the collection, linking, use and exploitation of biological and health data, the Data Access Committee of the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium, and the Medical Research Council’s Ethics, Regulation and Public Involvement Committee.

He is also an ethics consultant to UK Biobank. He has previously been a member of a number of national and international committees and working parties including the Ethics in Practice Committee of the Royal College of Physicians and the Department of Health’s Committee for the Ethical Aspects of Pandemic Influenza. Michael chairs Genomics England’s Ethics Advisory Committee.

Dr. Keith Stewart is Vice President, Cancer at University Health Network and Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Program. He is Regional Vice-President, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) and holds the Richard H. Clark Chair in Cancer Medicine. Dr. Stewart received his medical degree at Aberdeen University Medical School and trained in internal medicine and hematology in Glasgow, Kingston, Toronto and Boston. In 2002, he completed a Master of Business Administration at the Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario. Dr. Stewart has served in several healthcare leadership roles across both research and clinical practice in Toronto and at the Mayo Clinic.  Dr. Stewart returned to Toronto from the Mayo Clinic where he was most recently Director of the Center for Individualized Medicine.

Dr. Stewart’s own research and clinical practice is focused on the biology, genomics and treatment of Multiple Myeloma.  He has published over 350 research papers and led numerous clinical trials of novel therapeutics for this disease from first in man to large practice changing studies. Dr. Stewart has served on the advisory and medical or scientific boards of many private and public institutions including currently as a Non-Executive board member of Genomics England.

Kristen McLeod is the Director for the Office for Life Sciences, a joint government unit across the Department of Health and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Office for Life Sciences aims to improve the health and wealth of the nation by maximising the opportunities from the life sciences industry in the UK, supporting their contribution to improved health and outcomes in the NHS, and ensuring the UK is a competitive location for life sciences investment.

Prior to this role, Kristen was Director of Strategy, System Oversight and Performance at the Department of Health. In health, she has also previously been Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Health and Deputy Director of NHS Provider Policy, in addition to a number of roles in the Cabinet Office.

Kristen is currently on maternity leave, but will remain on the Board upon her return.

Lord David Prior is Chair of the NHS England Board.

Lord Prior was educated at Cambridge University and subsequently qualified as a barrister. He trained in finance at Lehman Brothers and Lazard Freres in New York before holding a number of senior positions within the industrial sector, including British Steel, where he was Commercial Director. He was elected MP for North Norfolk in 1997.

He served as Chairman of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from 2002 – 2012 before becoming Chairman of the Care Quality Commission.

In 2015, he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health and created a Life Peer. In December 2016, he was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with specific responsibility for developing industrial strategy. He stepped down from this role in December 2017 to become Chairman of University College London Hospitals.

He is a Commissioner of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose Commission on Mission-Orientated Innovation and Industrial Strategy (MOIIS), is a member of the BEIS Industrial Strategy Implementation Group and a Senior Advisor to Lazard.

Annalisa Jenkins, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P. is a biopharma thought leader with over 25 years of industry experience. Dr. Jenkins has extensive recent experience in building and financing biotech companies pursuing cures for the most challenging rare diseases to address important medical issues globally. She has consistently built and led teams advancing programs from scientific research through clinical development, regulatory approval, and into healthcare systems globally. In addition, she is an advocate for diversity and inclusion, particularly for women in science. Dr. Jenkins served as president and CEO of Dimension Therapeutics, a leading gene therapy company that she took public on the NASDAQ and subsequently sold to Ultragenyx. Prior leadership roles have included the head of global research and development and executive vice president global development and medical at Merck Serono, and several senior positions at Bristol Myers-Squibb over 15 years – including serving as senior vice president and head of global medical affairs. Earlier in her career, Dr. Jenkins was a medical officer in the British Royal Navy during the Gulf Conflict, achieving the rank of surgeon lieutenant commander. Dr. Jenkins is a board member of several growing companies, including Oncimmune, AVROBIO, COMPASS Pathways, AOBiome, AgeX, ADOR Diagnostics, MedCity, DMNoMore, Conduit Connect, Affimed, Genomics England, Blue Advent, Cocoon Biotech Inc. (Non-Executive Chair), and Kuur Therapeutics (Non-Executive Chair). She also is a committee member of the Science Board to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which advises FDA leadership on complex scientific and technical issues, board member at Faster Cures a center of The Milken Institute and Chair of The Court The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Andrew is the founder of Diagonal, a technology consultancy for the urban environment. Previously, Andrew built and led the engineering organisation at DeepMind Health, deploying software to the NHS and researching the use of machine learning for healthcare. He has also been responsible for the engineering organisations behind Google Maps Mobile, and Google’s philanthropic engineering efforts for elections, crisis response and the support for non-profits. He graduated from the Department of Computing at Imperial College in 2001 with a Masters degree in Software Engineering.

Nick is Genomics England’s General Counsel and Company Secretary, and the Board’s Secretariat.

He is responsible for all legal activity within Genomics England, and for signing off all procurement and contracting work.

Prior to his role at Genomics England, Nick was a partner in three Top 100 law firms: Pinsent Masons, DLA Piper and Bircham Dyson Bell.

Board minutes

Redacted Board minutes are available to download below.