Enabling innovation for under-researched infectious diseases

Governing board

Governing Board

The Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation was established as a not-for-profit organisation and operates through its Governing Board and Trustees.

The Governing Board is comprised of world-leading experts in the field of research into endemic infectious diseases who advise and guide the Foundation in meeting its objectives. The Board also ensures that projects selected are of a consistently high standard and address the diseases under scope. The Board includes the Trustees of the Foundation and is chaired by Professor Peter Piot , Director, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

  • Alan Fairlamb

    Professor Peter Piot

    TCOLF Trustee - Chair

    Prof Piot is the Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is the Chair of the UK HMG Strategic Coherence of ODA funded Research Board. He is vice-chair of the Board of the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund in Tokyo, and of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, London, Chair of the King Baudouin Foundation USA, and member of the Board of Vestergaard SA, Lausanne. Previously he was President of the International AIDS Society, Chair of the WHO Ebola Science Committee, and Chair of the European Forum for Forward Looking Activities.

    He was the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1995 until 2008, and was an Associate Director of the Global Programme on AIDS of WHO. Under his leadership UNAIDS became the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS, also spearheading UN reform by bringing together 10 UN system organizations.

    He has a medical degree from the University of Ghent (1974), and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Antwerp (1980). In 1976 he co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire while working at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and led research on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and women's health, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. He was a professor of microbiology, and of public health at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, the Free University of Brussels, and the University of Nairobi, was a Senior Fellow at the University of Washington, a Scholar in Residence at the Ford Foundation, and a Senior Fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He held the chair 2009/2010 "Knowledge against poverty" at the College de France in Paris.

    He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was elected a foreign member of the National Academy of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences, and is also a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Académie Nationale de Médecine of France, and of the Royal Academy of Medicine of his native Belgium, and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

    He has received numerous scientific and civic awards including an honorary doctorate from eight universities, the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award, Robert Koch Gold medal, Prix International INSERM, Paris (2015). He was a 2014 TIME Person of the Year (The Ebola Fighters), and received the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health. In 2013 he was the laureate of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize for Medical Research. He received the Thomas Parran Award from ASTDA, the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 2001, the Frank A Calderone Prize in Public Health in 2003, and the RSTMH Manson Medal and Bloomberg Hopkins Award in 2016. He was knighted as a baron in 1995 in his native Belgium, and awarded an Honorary Knighthood KCMG in the UK in 2016.

    He has published over 580 scientific articles and 17 books, including his memoir 'No Time to Lose' in 2012 (WW Norton) and 'AIDS between science and politics' in 2015.

  • Alan Fairlamb

    Alan Fairlamb

    TCOLF Trustee

    Professor Fairlamb is Head of the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery at the University of Dundee. He obtained his degree in Medicine and PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh (1965-1975). Following postdoctoral studies on the biochemistry and chemotherapy of trypanosomes, leishmania and malaria at the University of Amsterdam, the University of Edinburgh, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Rockefeller University, he moved in 1996 to the University of Dundee as a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow to become Head of the Division of Biological Chemistry & Drug Discovery.

    Alan has published over 200 research papers and review articles on the identification, validation and molecular characterization of novel biochemical drug targets against parasitic diseases. His major research achievement was the discovery of trypanothione, a unique metabolite that is implicated in the mode of action of several of the current, unsatisfactory treatments for African trypanosomiasis, Chagas’ disease and leishmaniasis.

    Alan is a tireless advocate of the urgent need for new drugs for the most neglected tropical diseases and has served as a scientific advisor to the World Health Organization, the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative over the past 25 years. Together with colleagues at Dundee, he played a pivotal role in establishing the Drug Discovery Unit, whose primary focus is on tropical parasitic diseases. Among many prizes and honours, he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours 2005, for services to medical science.

  • Carl Nathan

    Carl Nathan

    TCOLF Trustee

    Carl Nathan, MD is R.A. Rees Pritchett Professor and chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College and co-chair of the Program in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University. After graduation from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, he trained in internal medicine and oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, the National Cancer Institute and Yale before joining the faculty of The Rockefeller University from 1977-1986. He has been at Weill Cornell Medical College since 1986, where he has served as founding director of the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, senior associate dean for research and acting dean. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, Nathan serves as associate scientific director of the Cancer Research Institute; a Trustee of the Hospital for Special Surgery and chair of the research committee; on the scientific advisory boards of the American Asthma Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation and the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research; and since 1988, an editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. He received the Robert Koch Prize in 2009 for his work on host defense against infection.

    In work spanning four decades Nathan established that lymphocyte products activate macrophages, that interferon-gamma is a major macrophage activating factor in mice and humans, and that mechanisms of macrophage antimicrobial activity include induction of the respiratory burst and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), which he and his colleagues purified, cloned, knocked out and characterized biochemically and functionally. Although iNOS helps the host control Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mtb resists sterilization by host immunity. The biochemical basis of Mtb’s persistence is the lab’s present focus. Genetic and chemical screens have identified enzymes that Mtb requires to survive during non-replicative persistence, including the proteasome, a serine protease that controls intrabacterial pH, and components of pyruvate dehydrogenase and nucleotide excision repair, along with inhibitors of each.

  • Jose Maria Romero

    Jose Maria Romero

    TCOLF Trustee

    Jose-Maria Romero is responsible for the negotiation of worldwide deals with other pharmaceutical and biotech companies to access new products which complement and increase the value of GSK’s pharmaceutical portfolio. He manages a UK/US team who are responsible for leading the interactions with the external companies, including the negotiation of deal terms and contract writing, as well as for the internal assessment of the opportunities and presentation to GSK’s Senior Officers for endorsement of the agreements.

    He has played a key role in making the licensing function at GSK one of the most successful and innovative in the industry: since the merger of GW and SB back in 2001, the Worldwide Business Development team has been responsible for over 35 late-stage deals and over 50 early-discovery deals, across a range of therapeutic areas and for compounds from pre-clinical to Phase III development and regulatory filing.

    He has over 25 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical industry, thirteen of which have been in the GSK Business Development area. Prior to GSK, he worked for Merck & Co. as Director Scientific Resources in its Basic Research Centre. Along those years he has gained a sounded knowledge of the market trends and opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry in the different Regions, as well as a good understanding of the therapeutic drug development, and the complexities of negotiating and implementing successful collaborations.

    He earned a BSc in Organic Chemistry at Universidad Autónoma of Madrid, and an Executive MBA at IESE.

  • Elizabeth Winzeler

    Elizabeth Winzeler

    Governing Board Member

    Elizabeth Ann Winzeler is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine with experience in academic and industrial antimicrobial drug discovery.

    She received her Ph.D. in 1996 from the Department of Developmental Biology at Stanford University, training under the microbiologist, Lucy Shapiro. She also performed postdoctoral studies at Stanford working with the geneticist, Ronald Davis, before moving to a joint position at the Scripps Research Institute and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in 1999. At the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation she led a malaria drug discovery program that has yielded several novel antimalarial chemotypes that are currently in clinical trials (KAE609, also known as cipargamin, and KAF179). In 2012 she moved to the University of California, San Diego where she leads a group that uses systematic, data intensive methods to solve problems at the interface of host pathogen biology typically involving large collections of chemical screening data and whole genome sequencing.

    She has received prestigious awards from the Keck Foundation, the Ellison Medical Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was a semifinalist in the 2008 Howard Hughes Competition. In 2014 she was awarded the Bailey-Ashford Medal for distinguished achievements in tropical medicine. She has authored over 110 publications that have been collectively cited more than 18,000 times.

  • Graeme Bilbe

    Graeme Bilbe

    Governing Board Member

    Dr Bilbe has the overall responsibility for advancing the discovery and development of new treatments for neglected diseases and building DNDi’s project portfolio.

    Prior to joining DNDi in 2012, Dr. Bilbe was Global Head of Neuroscience Discovery at Novartis tasked with discovery and early development to proof of concept testing of novel treatments for brain diseases. During his scientific leadership of Novartis Neuroscience Discovery, he and scientific teams participated in development and registration of new therapies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Under Dr. Bilbe’s leadership, the Neuroscience Discovery group built and developed a portfolio of novel therapies up to clinical efficacy testing for Parkinson’s disease, Fragile X Mental Retardation, cognitive disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease, epilepsy and chronic pain states. Dr. Bilbe held executive leadership positions both within the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research as well as the Novartis Franchise Board for Neuroscience and was a visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool.

    He currently is a member of several Scientific Advisory Boards for Biotech Companies, Public Institutions and TDR of the World Health Organization. Dr. Bilbe completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Zentrum for Molecular Biology in Heidelberg and Imperial College, University of London. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London, Imperial College and his BSc. in Zoology and Biochemistry from the University of Nottingham.

  • Kip Guy

    Kip Guy

    Governing Board Member

    Dr R. Kip Guy is currently the Dean of Pharmacy and a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.

    Dr Guy obtained his BA in chemistry from Reed College in Portland, OR in 1990. After college, he worked as a process development chemist in the Process Translation Unit at IBM-Almaden in San Jose, CA. In 1996, he received his PhD in Organic Chemistry based on the total synthesis of taxol from the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) La Jolla, CA. While at Scripps he held an Office of Naval Research Graduate Research Fellowship, George Hewitt Medical Research Fellowship, and ACS Organic Division Fellowship. He also carried out additional training in Physiology at the Woods Hole Research Institute in Woods Hole, MA in 1995. From 1996 to 1998, he was a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow in Cellular Biology focusing on the relationship between hedgehog signaling and sterol homeostasis with Drs. Brown and Goldstein at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. From 1998 to 2005 he held a joint appointment in the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco (Assistant to Full Professor, currently Adjunct Professor). From 2005 to 2016 he was the founding Chair of the Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he also held Adjunct appointments at the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University. He has been at UK since 2016.

    His research is focused on the discovery and development of novel small molecules that target the pathophysiology of orphan paediatric diseases, particularly paediatric oncology and protozoal infectious diseases. Most of his group’s work falls into the areas of chemical validation of novel targets, lead discovery and optimization of novel chemical matter for validated disease targets, and use of non-targeted whole-cell strategies for lead discovery and optimization. He is the author of 160 papers and book chapters, and the inventor on 14 issued patents.

  • Mel Spigelman

    Mel Spigelman

    Governing Board Member

    Dr. Mel Spigelman is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance). Prior to being appointed President and CEO in 2009, Dr. Spigelman served for five and a half years as the Director of Research and Development at the TB Alliance. A highly regarded expert in domestic and international drug research and development, Dr. Spigelman previously spent a decade managing drug R&D at Knoll Pharmaceuticals (a division of BASF Pharma). As Vice President of R&D at Knoll for eight years, Dr. Spigelman directed clinical development and supervised all R&D activities from basic discovery to regulatory approval and Medical Affairs. He established global R&D processes as part of Knoll's senior R&D management team, oversaw a marked increase in US regulatory filings and approvals, and supervised joint R&D programs with multiple other pharmaceutical companies.

    Dr. Spigelman received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his medical degree from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine where he specialized in Internal medicine, Neoplastic Diseases and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Spigelman holds board certifications from the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board's Subspecialty Board of Medical Oncology, and the American Board of Preventive Medicine and was the recipient of the American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award (1985-1988).

    Dr. Spigelman is Co-chair of the Working Group on New Drugs of the WHO Stop TB Partnership and also serves on the Coordinating Board of the Partnership.

  • Nick Cammack

    Nick Cammack

    Governing Board Member

    Nick Cammack was most recently Head of Exploratory Discovery at GSK, and previously Head of the Medicines Development Campus for Diseases of the Developing World. In this role, Nick was responsible for the discovery and development of medicines to treat some of the most devastating neglected diseases including malaria, tuberculosis, Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis, and also including the recent registration and approval of Tafenoquine for vivax malaria.

    Before joining GSK, Nick Cammack was Global Head of the Virology Disease Biology Area at Hoffmann La Roche, based in Palo Alto, California, USA, where he was instrumental in the initiation and implementation of many significant external partnerships – the three-way Roche-Pharmasset-InterMune partnership was the first to conduct and demonstrate antiviral activity of an interferon-free combination of two small molecules for the treatment of Hepatitis C.

    Nick has also contributed to the discovery and development of three anti-HIV medicines and whilst at Roche in the UK where he was Head of the HIV Disease Area, he led the Roche-Trimeris Virology Team resulting in the successful launch of the novel anti-HIV medicine, Fuzeon.

    Nick is a graduate of Leeds University and held a MRC PhD Fellowship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

    He is a member of the Organising and Scientific Committees for several international conferences.

  • Timothy Wells

    Timothy Wells

    Governing Board Member

    Dr Timothy Wells joined Medicines for Malaria Venture in October 2007 as the Chief Scientific Officer. He has responsibility for the Research and Development Portfolio, which covers over 50 projects from screening, through to one launched product and two products currently preparing for registration.

    Prior to joining MMV, he was Senior Executive Vice President Research at Serono. Prior to this he worked at the Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology. He has over 180 scientific publications, and several patent applications.

    He has a PhD in Chemistry from Imperial College, London for Protein Engineering studies on enzyme catalysis, with Sir Alan Fersht. He was awarded a ScD in Biology from the University of Cambridge for his later work on Cytokine Biology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

  • Valerie Mizrahi

    Valerie Mizrahi

    Governing Board Member

    Valerie Mizrahi is professorial director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and a Fellow of UCT. She also directs the SAMRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit and co-directs the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, a tri-institutional TB research and training centre which she co-founded in 2004. She was an International Research Scholar of the HHMI from 2000-2010, and a Senior International Research Scholar of the HHMI from 2012-2017. Valerie obtained her PhD in Chemistry from UCT (1983) and undertook a postdoctoral research at Penn State University and at SmithKline & French in King of Prussia before returning to South Africa in 1989 where she established a research group at the University of the Witwatersrand and National Health Laboratory Service and remained until 2011.

    Her research focuses on aspects of the physiology and metabolism of mycobacterial of relevance to TB drug resistance, drug discovery and mycobacteria persistence focusing on DNA and nucleotide metabolism, cofactor metabolism and energy metabolism. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the African Academy of Science and the Royal Society of South Africa, an Associate Fellow of The World Academy of Science, and member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Her major awards include the 2013 Christophe Mérieux Prize from the Mérieux Foundation and Institut de France, the Order of the Mapungubwe (Silver) in 2007 from the State President of South Africa, the 2017 Platinum Medal from the South African Medical Research Council, and the 2000 Unesco-L’Oréal For Women in Science Award (Africa & Middle East).

    Valerie has held numerous Scientific Advisory Board appointments and currently serves of the Discovery Expert Group of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the SAB of Keystone Symposia and the Science Interview Panel of Wellcome. She is deeply committed to research capacity development in Africa, has mentored close to 70 early-career fellows, postdocs and graduate students during her career. Most of her trainees have remained involved in health research and some have moved into leadership positions locally and abroad.