Press release

Professor Bryan Grenfell and Professor Tobias Bonhoeffer join the Wellcome Trust Board of Governors

Two world-leading scientists - Professor Bryan Grenfell, a population biologist, and Professor Tobias Bonhoeffer, a neuroscientist - have joined the Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust. They will take up their positions in September.

Bryan Grenfell (pictured left) 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 the 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 and 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 London and the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London.

Tobias Bonhoeffer (pictured right) 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. He brings organisational experience and research leadership, as he has served for more than 15 years as department head at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology and later also as Chair of the entire 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 also a member of the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, the Academia Europaea and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and he has been awarded the Ernst-Jung Prize for Medicine.

Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust, said: “I am delighted the Trust continues to attract and appoint such distinguished leaders in science, who bring both considerable expertise in their specialist domains and a breadth of scientific interest and experience. Bryan and Tobias will also contribute a valuable international perspective, with their first-hand knowledge of the research landscape in North America and continental Europe. We are extremely lucky to welcome them both to the Board, and I very much look forward to working with them.”

Bryan said: “The Wellcome Trust is a wonderful organisation, combining huge international impact with great flexibility in responding to new health challenges. The Trust has made superb contributions to the development of quantitative biology, a special interest of mine. I am very excited to join the Board.”

Tobias said: “The Wellcome Trust is one of the scientific institutions that I respect most worldwide, a leader in biomedical science that also takes a broad approach to engagement with culture and society. I am thrilled and honoured to have this opportunity to contribute to new and exciting activities that will have a fundamental impact on science and ultimately on society.”