Board of Governors

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

Julia Gillard AC

Chair

Date of appointment: 12 April 2021

The first woman to serve as Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister (2007-2013), Julia was central to the successful management of Australia’s economy following the global financial crisis. She delivered nation-changing policies, including the reform of education, emissions trading, and the provision and sustainability of healthcare. In 2017, Julia was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Julia currently serves as the Chair of Global Partnership for Education, a leading organisation dedicated to expanding access and quality education worldwide, and Beyond Blue, Australia’s leading mental health awareness body.

In April 2018, she was appointed Inaugural Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at Kings College London. She is also Patron of Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education. 

Prior to entering the Australian Federal Parliament, Julia worked as an industrial relations lawyer, and as Chief of Staff to the Premier of Victoria, Australia. 

AC: Companion of the Order of Australia 

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

Deputy Chair

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 Ltd.

Mike was knighted in 2019 for his services to science.

CBE: Commander of the Order 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

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, the European Molecular Biology Organization, and the US National Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded the Ernst-Jung Prize for Medicine.

Professor Arup K. Chakraborty

Date of appointment: 1 May 2021

Arup K. Chakraborty is one of 12 Institute Professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is the highest honour awarded to a faculty member. He is also Professor of Chemical Engineering, Physics, and Chemistry. He was the founding director of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. 

With a background in chemical engineering, Arup's focus is on the intersection between immunology, physics and engineering. His work aims to help develop better vaccines and therapies by examining how the immune system works to combat pathogens. He is particularly interested in the human immune response to highly mutable pathogens such as HIV and influenza. He has also made significant contributions to the role of phase separation in transcription. Working with collaborators, his interdisciplinary lab at MIT brings together computational studies rooted in statistical physics with clinical and experimental investigation. 

He is a member of all three branches of the US National Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Amelia Fawcett DBE, CVO

Date of appointment: 1 September 2019

Amelia Fawcett, a former investment banker and lawyer, has a career spanning financial services, media and telecommunications, investment management and government. In addition to 20 years at Morgan Stanley, she has extensive board experience including at the Standards Board for Alternative Investments, the Guardian Media Group, The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, the UK Treasury, the Court of the Bank of England and the London Business School. 

Currently, she is the lead director of State Street Corporation in the USA, Chair of Kinnevik AB in Sweden and Chair of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

DBE: Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
CVO: Commander of the Royal Victorian Order

Richard Gillingwater, CBE

Date of appointment: 1 September 2019

Richard Gillingwater is currently the Chair of SSE, the renewable energy and networks group, and Janus Henderson, a global asset manager. After a career in finance, he set up and ran UK Government Investments, created to manage the government’s state-owned businesses, and chaired the UK’s development finance business, CDC, investing in Africa and Asia. He has also served as Dean of Cass Business School and as Chair of the Open University and has wide board experience.

CBE: Commander of the Order of the British Empire

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 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the School of Public and International Affairs.

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

Professor Gabriel Leung, GBS

Date of appointment: 1 May 2021

Gabriel Leung is Dean of Medicine and inaugural Helen and Francis Zimmern Professor in Population Health at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He is one of Asia’s leading epidemiologists, with extensive experience in viral epidemics.  

Gabriel’s career has spanned academia and public service. Previously, he was Head of Community Medicine at HKU, and Hong Kong's first Under Secretary for Food and Health. He also served as the youngest ever Director of the Office of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

He is a member of the US National Academy of Medicine and was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the Government of Hong Kong.

GBS: Gold Bauhinia Star

Professor 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, the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014 and the US National Academy of Sciences in 2020.

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

Cilla Snowball DBE

Date of appointment: 1 September 2019

Cilla Snowball has had a long career in advertising, including 26 years at the creative agency AMV BBDO, where she was Group CEO and Group Chairman, and pivotal in making it one of the most successful advertising agencies in the UK.

She has chaired the Women’s Business Council, the GREAT Private Sector Council, acted as a trustee of Comic Relief, and is a Non-Executive Director at the property investment and development company Derwent London plc. 

DBE: Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Elhadj As Sy

Date of appointment: 1 January 2020

Elhadj As Sy is the Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation Board, and Co-chair of the WHO/World Bank Global Pandemic Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB). In addition to these functions, Mr. Sy is also a member of the Governing Board of Interpeace and serves on numerous other boards and organisations.

Mr. Sy has over 30 years’ experience of leadership in the humanitarian, health, environment and development sectors, and has previously served as the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) – the world’s largest humanitarian network.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Sy was UNICEF’s Director of Partnerships and Resource Development in New York. He has also served as UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Global Emergency Coordinator for the Horn of Africa, and at senior levels of other agencies including UNAIDS, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.