Medical Advisory Group

Members of the Medical Advisory Group provide a whole range of support to MRF, devoting their valuable time and expertise to help in a number of different ways:

  • providing advice on current topics to help the charity develop its standpoint on issues of the day, and to strengthen our voice
  • providing advice on clinical issues to help us inform and support people affected by meningitis and septicaemia
  • helping us create, develop and publicise our information resources
  • working with us on conferences and educational events, and speaking on MRF’s behalf
  • acting as media spokespeople
  • briefing parliamentarians and attending major charity events.

Prof Ray Borrow

Prof Ray Borrow is Head of the Vaccine Evaluation Unit at the UK Health Security Agency, Manchester, UK.

There he is responsible for the evaluation of serological responses to various bacterial and viral vaccines with a special interest in meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines. He is also the Deputy Head of the UKHSA Meningococcal Reference Unit for England & Wales.

Ray gained his PhD in 1994, his MRCPath in 2003, became an Honorary Professor of Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the University of Manchester in 2009 and Visiting Professor of the Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011. His scientific findings resulted in over 190 peer reviewed published papers. He serves as a member of the DHSC Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and frequently advises WHO and companies on both meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines.

Dr Tim Fooks

Dr Tim Fooks trained at the Royal Free Hospital and his BSc was in Infection and Immunity st St Mary's Hospital, London.

Tim was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 2017. He has been a GP in Pulborough since 1992 and his practice was awarded an Outstanding rating by CQC in 2017.

Tim has maintained an interest in paediatric medicine in primary care and was Clinical Commissioning Lead for Children and Young People (CYP) Services in West Sussex between 2010 and 2018. He has been involved in GP education and training for many years and has worked with Dr Nelly Ninis, Consultant Paediatrician, and NHS Health Education England to produce the very well-received THINK SEPSIS film, with the full education programme Sepsis in Paediatrics released onto NHS e-Learning for Health in 2018. This has been accessed by more than 20,000 clinicians.

Tim now regularly lecturers on the Assessment of Sick Children in Primary Care.

In 2015, Tim developed the PACE Setter Award for NHS CYP services in Primary Care. This programme has itself won National Awards from the Patient Experience National Network.

Professor Adam Finn

Adam Finn is Head of the Academic Unit of Child Health at Bristol Medical School, School of Clinical Sciences and an honorary consultant in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

He is director of the South West Medicines for Children Research Network and heads the Bristol Children's Vaccine Centre. He trained in Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and in Immunology at the Institute of Child Health in London where he obtained his PhD.

He worked in Sheffield between 1992 and 2001 where he was involved in several trials of meningococcal group C and other vaccines. His current main research interest is the mucosal immune response to respiratory bacteria including pneumococcus and meningococcus.

Professor Paul Heath

Paul Heath is a Professor / Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St George’s, University of London and Vaccine Institute in London. His training in paediatrics and infectious diseases was at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and St George’s Hospital, London.

His particular research interests are in the epidemiology of vaccine preventable diseases, in clinical vaccine trials, particularly in at-risk groups, and in perinatal infections. He coordinates a national neonatal infection surveillance network (neonIN) and recently, a national study on neonatal meningitis. He sits on national committees concerned with meningitis, Group B streptococcus prevention, Pneumococcal and Hib infections, neonatal infections and on immunisation policies in children. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, a member of the research committee of the European Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and a member of the steering committee of the international Brighton Collaboration on vaccine safety.

Professor Nigel Klein

Professor Nigel Klein is Professor and Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, London, and the Institute of Child Health, University College London. He trained at UCL, obtaining degrees in Anatomy and in Medicine. He worked in the three London centres specialising in Paediatric Infectious Diseases before completing his formal training at ICH/GOSH.

He is currently Head of Infectious Diseases Unit at ICH and was Head of the Department of Infection at UCL until 2008. He has been working in the fields of Meningitis and Sepsis for many years, in both a clinical and academic capacity. Nigel is a scientific advisor for a number of medical research charities.

Dr Rachel Kneen

Rachel Kneen studied medicine in Nottingham, before taking up a clinical research post at the University of Oxford, Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

During this post, she developed an interest in central nervous system (CNS) infections and participated in many research projects on infectious diseases including meningitis, encephalitis (mostly caused by Japanese Encephalitis virus), tuberculous meningitis, dengue haemorrhagic fever, rabies, typhoid, tetanus and diphtheria.

Following her return to the UK, she became a Paediatric Registrar in the Oxford and then Mersey Deanery. She became a Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust in 2005. She has a clinical interest in CNS infectious and and she runs a joint specialist clinic for Neuroinflammatory disorders with rheumatology colleagues at her Trust.

Dr Kneen is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer and an Associate member of the Institute of Infection & Global Health, University of Liverpool ( She continues her research interest in CNS infections in the Liverpool Brain Infections Group by leading on the paediatric aspects of many research projects. She has a particular interest in improving the management of patients with CNS infections. She is also on the professional advisory panel for the Encephalitis Society and is a co-convenor of the Liverpool Neuro-Infectious Diseases Course (

Professor Michael Levin

Michael Levin is Professor of Paediatrics and International Child Health at Imperial College London.

He trained in medicine in South Africa and in paediatrics in the UK before specialising in infectious diseases. His research has focused on life threatening infections of childhood. He is the co-ordinator of a European Commission FP7 award studying the genetic basis of meningococcal and other life threatening bacterial infections of childhood, working with a consortium of colleagues from Europe, Africa and Singapore.

Professor Benedict Michael

Professor Benedict Michael is a an MRC Clincian Scientist who leads the Infection Neuroscience Lab at the NIHR Health Protection Unit for Emerging and Zoonotic Infection an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.

He trained in Medicine in Liverpool and completed a PhD on the neuroimmunological response in viral encephalitis. He completed Post-Doctoral Training at the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Disease, Massachusettes General Hospital and Harvard Medical School where he was developed an intravital microscopy model of viral encephalitis to image leucocyte migration into the brain in real-time.

Professor Michael obtained an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in 2008 and was awarded an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship in 2010. He then went on to obtain an NIHR Academic Clinical Lectureship in 2015, and was awarded an Academy of Medical Sciences grant and the British Medical Association Vera Down grant for Neuroscience in 2016. He received the Royal College of Physicians Linacre Lecture Award in 2022.

He is involved in the NeuroPACES and the NeuroID course, and led the development of the NeuroAccess programme to improve neurological education in two sites in sub-Saharan Africa. He helped set up the NHS Northwest Neurological Infectious Diseases Research Network and Brain Infections UK ( and is a main author for the ABN/BIA National Encephalitis Guideline.

Benedict also developed ClickClinica©, a novel smartphone app to track the global spread of disease, featured in the Lancet ID.

His research interests include: Neuro-immunological responses, particularly to infection, and the clinical management of central nervous system infections.

Fergal Monsell

Fergal Monsell has been a Consultant Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol since 2005. He worked in the same capacity at The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street and The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore between 1997 and 2005.

He completed his higher surgical training at the University of Manchester and fellowship training at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Sydney, Australia.

He has a broad based practice with a special interest in limb reconstruction surgery using a spectrum of contemporary techniques. He has considerable experience in the management of patients with the skeletal consequences of septicaemia and contributes to a multi-disciplinary team specifically managing this patient group. He is active in all aspects of paediatric trauma and has published on this subject.

He has an active clinical and basic science research portfolio and received a Doctorate of Philosophy in 2010, defending a thesis that explored the effect of chemotherapy on regenerate bone formation in distraction osteogenesis.

Dr Fiona McGill

Fiona McGill graduated from medical school at the University of Aberdeen in 2000.

She moved south of the border one year later to take up a medical rotation in Middlesbrough. After 2 and half years there she pursued her interest in Infectious Diseases and took up a clinical fellow post in Newcastle-Upon Tyne.

After a year in New Zealand and the diploma in tropical medicine she moved back to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne where she started her specialist registrar training in Infectious Diseases. Within the year she obtained a training number in the Yorkshire and The Humber region in infectious diseases and microbiology.

Since April 2011 she has taken some time out of clinical duties to work as a Clinical Research Fellow in the Liverpool Brain Infections Group with Prof Tom Solomon and his team working on an epidemiological study on viral meningitis in the UK and funded by us.

Dr Simon Nadel

Simon Nadel has been a Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care since 1994.

Prior to this he trained in paediatric infectious diseases. He has been involved in coordinating and running therapeutic trials in children with meningococcal and other septic shock, and has taken part in research studies into the pathophysiology, treatment and outcome of meningococcal disease in children. He has been involved in writing clinical guidelines for the management of children with septicaemia and meningitis.

Dr Nelly Ninis

Nelly Ninis is currently a consultant in General Paediatrics at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington.

She has completed training in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology and has an MSc in tropical medicine. She worked for three years on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s when it was a specialist referral unit for meningococcal sepsis.

She conducted the RCPCH study on healthcare delivery and the outcome of meningococcal disease in children, funded by MRF. From this study she has developed an interest in the way sepsis is diagnosed both in primary and secondary care, and has since produced sepsis teaching material with Health Education England (HEE).

Dr Ninis was also part of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guideline Development Group for Meningitis and Septicaemia, and was involved in the development of the RCPCH e-learning tool on neonatal meningitis.

Dr Ifeanyichukwu Okike

Dr Okike is a Consultant Paediatrician at Derby Children’s Hospital where he is also the lead for the undergraduate paediatric education for Nottingham University, Derby Campus.

He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Medical Advisory Group for Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF). 

During his specialist training in paediatrics he worked as a Clinical Research Fellow at St George’s, University of London and was supervised by Prof Paul T Heath. He coordinated a Meningitis Research Foundation funded bacterial meningitis in infants < 90 days of age: burden of disease and assessment of healthcare delivery study (neoMen). Both studies have been collaboration with the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) and Public Health England (PHE) and has defined the current epidemiology and outcome of bacterial meningitis in UK and Irish young infants. 

His current focus is on education materials for parents and healthcare workers aiming towards better outcome for bacterial meningitis in young infants.

Dr Mary Ramsay

Mary Ramsay is a Consultant Epidemiologist and Head of the Immunisation, Hepatitis and Blood Safety department for Public Health England (PHE).

In this role Mary is responsible for the national surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases and for the planning and implementation of routine immunisation programmes in England. Mary also provides expert clinical and public health advice in the field of vaccination and blood borne virus prevention. Her work has directly contributed to several major decisions on national vaccination policy, that, in turn has provided benefits for public health. 

Mary often acts as a temporary advisor to WHO on vaccine preventable diseases and advises the European Centre for Disease Control on surveillance and epidemiology of vaccine preventable diseases.

Dr Andrew Riordan

Andrew Riordan is Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK.

He was Johanne Holly Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool and wrote his Doctoral Thesis on Meningococcal Disease. He has helped produce NICE guidance on the management of fever in children and NICE quality standards for the care of children with meningitis and meningococcal disease.

Andrew is a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and chairs the Meningococcal Sub-committee.

Dr Matthew Snape

Matthew Snape is a consultant in General Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS trust and an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Oxford.

Dr Snape trained at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, and at St Mary's Hospital, London. While caring for children suffering overwhelming infections on the St Mary’s paediatric intensive care unit he developed an interest in the prevention of these illnesses by immunisation.

To this end he has worked at the Oxford Vaccine Group (University of Oxford) since 2003, conducting research related to vaccines against meningococcal, pneumococcal, group B streptococcus, influenza and hepatitis B disease. Of particular importance has been the ongoing involvement with the development of the vaccines against serogroup B meningococcus. He continues to be an investigator on vaccine clinical trials while working as a general paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital, Oxford.

Dr Snape is partially funded by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr Alistair Thomson

Alistair Thomson trained at Cambridge, King's College Hospital London, St Thomas’ Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Since 1990 he has been Consultant Paediatrician at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust. He has co-led a rolling research programme into meningococcal disease on Merseyside. He has published extensively, on subjects ranging from the pathophysiology of meningococcal infection, it is treatment and outcome, to the importance of accurate publicity in the disease. He has been a member of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guidelines and Topic Expert Groups on Bacterial Meningitis and Meningococcal Disease.

Dr Matthew Thompson

Dr Thompson is a family physician, clinical researcher and teacher of evidence-based medicine. He has trained and worked as a family doctor in the US, UK and South Africa and currently practices in Seattle, USA.
He is currently Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the University of Washington (UW) Department of Family Medicine, and has conducted research across multiple clinical areas using qualitative and quantitative designs, recruiting over 40,000 adults and children from primary care settings to clinical studies. His main areas of research are improving diagnosis of acute and chronic conditions, management of respiratory tract infections, and child health in primary care. He has had a particular interest in improving the diagnosis of serious infections and illnesses in children in primary care settings, including identifying children with meningitis earlier, as well as those with pneumonia, and other serious illnesses like leukaemia and type 1 diabetes. Current research interests at UW in Seattle involve research to identify new technologies that can help improve care in primary care settings, and bridging gaps between industry and primary care researchers and clinicians.

Professor Marco Aurélio P. Sáfadi

Santa Casa de São Paulo School of Medical Sciences (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Marco is the Head of Paediatrics and Associate Professor at Santa Casa de São Paulo School of Medical Sciences. An infectious diseases specialist, Marco is an active member of the Advisory Board on Immunization Practices in Brazil. His research is focused on the epidemiology and prevention of community-acquired infections.

Professor James Stuart

Professor James Stuart is an honorary professor in population health sciences at the University of Bristol and is a consultant for WHO. After qualifying in medicine, 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 meningitis.

He has been involved in the investigation and control of outbreaks internationally and has published extensively on the epidemiology of meningococcal disease and carriage.  James has worked for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on a major research project into meningococcal carriage during the introduction of a serogroup A conjugate vaccine across the meningitis belt of Africa. In more recent years he has been working for WHO, co-ordinating revision of outbreak response guidelines for the meningitis belt and helping to develop and start implementation of the WHO roadmap on “Defeating Meningitis by 2030”.
£160/€190/$214 decodes the genetic information in a sample of meningococcal bacteria. This information has helped us track new forms of meningitis and campaign to introduce new vaccines to protect people.
Key data and meningitis estimates
A global vision for meningitis by 2030 and an action plan to get there.
We fund research into the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and sepsis