MRF further strengthens team of senior advisors and trustee board

MRF further strengthens team of senior advisors and trustee board

10 August 2017

Following the development of a new 3-year strategy, Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) has appointed a new Trustee, a Board Advisor, and a new Scientific Advisory Panel Chair as it further strengthens the charity’s scientific expertise and expands its international partnerships.

Professor Ray Borrow becomes a Trustee, having formerly served for many years as a member, and later, Chair of MRF’s Scientific Advisory Panel. He is Head of the Vaccine Evaluation Unit at Public Health England (PHE) and is also Deputy Head of the PHE Meningococcal Reference Unit for England and Wales in Manchester, UK. He is a Professor of Vaccine Preventable Diseases in the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the University of Manchester, and Visiting Professor at the School of Healthcare Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University. His scientific findings have resulted in over 300 peer reviewed published papers. He is an external expert for the Department of Health’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and ad hoc advisor to the World Health Organization and pharmaceutical industry on both meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines.

Professor James Stuart has taken up the post of Chair of MRF’s Scientific Advisory Panel. After qualifying in medicine in 1974, James worked for ten years as a clinical doctor in the UK and rural South Africa before specialising in public health and epidemiology of infectious diseases, particularly meningococcal disease. He has been involved in the investigation and control of outbreaks of meningococcal disease in the UK and internationally, and has published extensively on the epidemiology of meningococcal disease and carriage. In recent years he has been involved in a major research project into meningococcal carriage during the introduction of MenAfriVac, a conjugate serogroup A vaccine rolled out across the meningitis belt of Africa. He is working with the World Health Organization on meningitis surveillance and outbreak response in the meningitis belt.

Lesley-Anne Long becomes an independent Advisor to the charity’s senior team and Board of Trustees on strategic development of international projects and partnerships. She currently serves as the Director of the new Digital Health Initiative at PATH, a leading organisation in global health innovation. Lesley-Anne is a former family law Barrister, the founder and Director of HEAT (Health Education and Training) in Africa, a former Dean at The Open University in the UK, and was the first CEO of the Africa Justice Foundation. Before joining PATH earlier this year, Lesley-Anne was the Global Director of mPowering Frontline Health Workers, a USAID Global Development Alliance spanning public and private sector organisations collaborating on the use of mobile technologies to support health workers.

Professor Borrow said, “I have been a friend and supporter of MRF for many years and Chair of their Scientific Panel for the past six years. It’s an honour to join the Trustee Board and I really look forward to helping shape their future work on a strategic level.”

Professor Stuart said, “I have advised MRF informally for many years and been a member of their Scientific Panel since 2015. Great progress has been made in the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia, but there is still work to be done to defeat these diseases. I look forward to chairing the panel as we continue that vital work.”

Lesley-Anne said, “There is a real opportunity for MRF to use its expertise to help defeat meningitis globally and I look forward to working with the team as they reach out to new international partners.”

Vinny Smith, MRF’s Chief Executive, said, “We are delighted to welcome three more world-class experts to our wider team. Their guidance will be invaluable in supporting MRF’s new strategic focus to defeat meningitis wherever it exists. I can’t wait to learn from them and I am sure they will provide invaluable knowledge to ensure that we deliver the best results for families and individuals affected by, or at risk of meningitis. Our projects and services in the UK and Ireland remain vitally important and our ambitious plans will see us expand the reach of this work to help even more people around the world.”

Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam and I’m MRF's PR Manager.

If you want to know more about this story call me on 0333 405 626251, out of office hours on 07875 498047 or email me

samanthaw@meningitis.org