Our Trustees

Cancer Research UK, a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, is governed by a Council of Trustees, the Charity’s board of directors.

The Council’s role is to set the Charity’s strategic direction, monitor the delivery of the Charity’s objectives, uphold its values and governance and guide, advise and support the Chief Executive, who leads the Senior Management Team towards achieving the Charity’s vision and purpose.

The Board of Council of Trustees is led by the Chairman, Mr Michael Pragnell.

If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please contact Secretariat.

Michael Pragnell, MA, MBA (Chairman)

Michael Pragnell was appointed a Trustee in March 2010 and Chairman in November 2010.  He is a member of all Council Committees, except the Audit Committee, which he attends at the invitation of the committee chairman, and is a Director of Cancer Research Technology. 

Michael is a non-executive director of VINCI SA, Europe’s largest construction company and a member of the board of INSEAD.  He was the founder Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta AG (a merger of the agrochemicals and plant bio-science businesses of AstraZeneca and Novartis) based in Switzerland from its public listing in 2000 until his retirement at the end of 2007. 

Michael was previously an Executive Director of AstraZeneca plc having joined Zeneca plc in 1995.  He was a member of the supervisory board of the Anglo-Dutch joint-venture Advanta BV and a non-executive Director of David S Smith plc from 1996 to 2000.  From 1975 to 1995 he worked for Courtaulds plc and was appointed to the Board as CEO Courtaulds Coatings in 1990; he became Chief Financial Officer in 1992.  


Anne Baldock, LLB

Appointed in 2011, Anne is a recently retired Partner at leading global law firm Allen & Overy LLP.  During her time at Allen & Overy she played a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining the firm’s position at the top of the legal profession.

Her career had progressed from Partner in 1990, to Managing Partner of the London Projects Group in 1999, Non-Executive Global Board Member in 2000 and Global Head of Projects, Energy and Infrastructure, a role to which she was appointed in 2007. 

Anne is highly regarded for her work in the infrastructure sector in the UK, Europe and The Americas. Her practice remains diverse, advising on infrastructure, natural resource and petrochemical deals in numerous jurisdictions.

She also holds a non-executive position at the Nuclear Liabilities Finance Assurance Board (NLFAB), providing scrutiny and advice to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, on the adequacy of funding provision for new nuclear decommissioning programmes.


Wendy Becker, BA MBA

Appointed in 2011,  Wendy is CEO of Jack Wills and a non-executive director of Whitbread plc. and was named one of the top 50 women to watch in International Business by the Financial Times in 2009. 

She has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Starting her career at Procter & Gamble, she then became a partner at McKinsey, followed by a career in consumer technology.  Wendy joined Carphone Warehouse in 2008 where she built the TalkTalk Group.  She then moved to Vodafone as Group Chief Marketing Officer helping to build the company’s leading international position. Wendy is also a Trustee of the Prince’s Trust and the English National Ballet.


Professor Doctor Anton Berns PHD

Appointed in 2010. Professor Doctor Anton Berns studied biochemistry at the University of Nijmegen receiving his Masters degree in 1969 (cum laude) and his PhD in 1972. 

He did his postdoctoral training in the group of Rudolf Jaenisch at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, where he studied the role of retroviruses in causing lymphomas in mice.  In 1976 he returned to the University of Nijmegen where he became junior staff member.  In 1985 he was appointed as staff scientist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and in 1986 he became head of the Division of Molecular Genetics of the Institute.  He is senior staff member at the institute and director of the Skolkovo Center for Stem Cell Research in Moscow. He continues to run his research group at The Netherlands Cancer Institute. Here his group did pioneering work to generate and utilise genetically modified mice as a tool to search for new cancer genes.  Currently, his group focuses on the development and use of advanced mouse models for cancer.

From 1992 to 1994 Professor Berns served as VP of Research of one of the leading gene therapy companies in the US.  He is the former Director of Research and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Netherlands Cancer Institute/Anton van Leeuwenhoek Hospital.

Professor Berns has been a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1997 and a member of European Molecular Biology Organisation (EBMO) since 1990.  He is a member of a number of scientific advisory boards of academic institutes such as Curie Institute Paris, IMP Vienna, WEHI Melbourne, IGBMC Strasbourg, Max Planck Munich, Danish Cancer Centre, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and European Institute of Oncology in Milan.  He succeeded Christiane Nuesslein-Volhard as Secretary General of EMBO in 2010, until the end of 2012.  Until 2010 Professor Berns was vice chair of the EMBO Council and colleague of Sir Tim Hunt (Chair of the EMBO Council and a Cancer Research UK Scientist) and Dr Harold Varmus (associate member of EMBO, a Member and both a former Trustee of Cancer Research UK and a member of the Research Strategy Committee (RSC)).

In 2008 Professor Berns was admitted as a Member of the Charity and became a non-Trustee member of the RSC.  Prior to this he was a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of both the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research and of the Cambridge Research Institute.


Professor Sir Adrian Bird, CBE FRS FRSE

Appointed in 2010, Professor Bird is chairman of the Research Strategy Committee. He retired as Deputy Chairman of the Wellcome Trust on 31 October 2010, having been appointed a Governor in October 2000, and Deputy Chairman in April 2007.

He has held the Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh since 1990, and is Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology at the University. His research interests are the structure and function of the mammalian genome and in particular the role of DNA methylation.

Professor Bird was a member of the Science Planning Committee for The Francis Crick Institute, a collaboration between Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, University College London, Imperial College London and King's College London. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal ‘Molecular Cell’.

Awards include the 1999 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine and the 2008 Charles Léopold Mayer Prize of the French Academy of Sciences. He is a Trustee of the Kirkhouse Trust and of the Rett Syndrome Research Trust.

Professor Bird was awarded a knighthood in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list.


Helen Calcraft, BA (Hons) MBA

Appointed in 2011. Helen has an MBA from London Business School. She started her career at AMV.BBDO, the UK’s largest advertising agency, working across a wide range of business over a decade including BT, Dulux and WHSmith. 

In 1999 she co-founded Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, the advertising agency behind the ‘Go on lad’ Hovis advert (which was named ITV’s ad of the decade) as well as campaigns for Waitrose, Virgin and the Department of Health. 

From December 2009 to December 2012, in recognition of the changing communications landscape, Helen took over the chairmanship of Dare, an agency combining broadcast and digital expertise.

Helen is a member of two of the advertising world’s most prestigious networking clubs - Women in Advertising and Communications (WACL) and the 30 Club.  She was also non-executive director of Courtaulds, from 2006-2008.

Helen has opted for an entrepreneurial path once more, and is a Founding Partner of Lucky Generals, a creative company for people on a mission.


Dr Adrian Crellin MA FRCR FRCP

Appointed in 2012. Specialising in radiotherapy Dr Crellin is a consultant Clinical Oncologist. He was recently Vice-President of the Royal College of Radiologists and is Co-Chair of The National Radiotherapy Implementation Group and the Department of Health's National Clinical Lead on Proton Beam Therapy. This is a new radiotherapy treatment which targets cancer tumours more accurately while causing less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

In December 2011, the Government announced plans to introduce proton beam therapy for cancer patients in England. Dr Crellin's research expertise includes clinical trials and new treatments for pancreatic and oesophageal cancer, both priorities for Cancer Research UK. He studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and completed his medical training at three London Hospitals: St Bartholomew's, The Middlesex and Mount Vernon. He is a former Clinical Director at the St James' Institute of Oncology in Leeds.


Professor Stephen T Holgate CBE FMedSci

Appointed in 2014. Professor Holgate is Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the Faculty of Medicine in Southampton.

Over 35 years he has studied asthma and related illnesses using a range of scientific approaches including epidemiology, pathology and immunology, pharmacology, experimental medicine and genetics with a strong translational emphasis.

Professor Holgate advises the UK Government and EU on issues relating to Air Pollution and Chemical Hazards.  He Chairs the Research Excellence Framework 2014 Main Panel for Medicine, Health and Life Sciences for assessing research quality and impact in all UK Universities.  He is also Chair of the Science Committee of the European Respiratory Society.  He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 Queen’s New Year’s Honours.


Professor Jonathan K C Knowles

Appointed in 2011, Professor Knowles, former Head of Group Research and Member of the Executive Committee at Roche up to 2009, is a global opinion leader in personalised medicine.

Jonathan was the chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee and a member of the Board at Genentech for the last 12 years as well as a member of the Chugai Pharmaceuticals Board for seven years. He is Executive Chairman of Immunocore Limited and Adaptimmune Limited. Jonathan holds a Distinguished Professorship in Personalised Health Care at FIMM (Finnish Institute for Molecular Medicine) at the University of Helsinki, is a visiting chair at the University of Oxford and is Professor Emeritus at EPFL Lausanne.

At the beginning of 2010, Professor Knowles joined the Board of Caris Life Sciences, an international cutting edge molecular diagnostics company based in Irving, Texas. From May 2010 to October 2011 Professor Knowles also assumed the role of Caris’ Chief Scientific Officer. He received a first class honours degree in Molecular Genetics from the University of East Anglia. He received his PhD in Genetics of Mitochondria with Professor G. H. Beale FRS from the University of Edinburgh.


David Lindsell

Appointed in 2014.  David is a chartered accountant and a non-executive director and Chairman of the Audit Committees of Premier Oil plc and Drax Group plc, a non-executive director and Chairman of the Remuneration Committee of HellermannTyton plc, and a Governor and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the University of the Arts London.

He spent almost 30 years as a partner at Ernst & Young, and served as the lead audit partner for numerous FTSE 100 companies during his career at the firm, and was also a member of the firm’s governing council for 15 years. He was Deputy Chairman of the Financial Reporting Review Panel from 2008 to 2012 and has served on a number of national and international professional bodies relating to financial reporting and the accountancy profession.


Andrew Palmer FCA (Treasurer)

Appointed in 2014, Andrew was formerly Group Finance Director of Legal & General plc where he had also held a number of financial and operational roles in the asset management, insurance and international businesses. 

Until April 2013 Andrew had been Senior Independent Director of SEGRO, the Industrial REIT.  He is a non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at both Direct Line Insurance Group plc and Royal London Group plc.  He is also the Chairman of the Co-Operative Insurance Society, which was acquired by Royal London in 2013.  Andrew is also a panel member of the Financial Reporting Review Panel of the Financial Reporting Council and is a Trustee and Director of the Royal School of Needlework.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. 


Professor Peter Selby CBE DSc MD FMedSci FRCR FRCP

Appointed 2012, Peter Selby is a consultant physician at St James’ University Hospital, the St James’ Institute of Oncology and Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Leeds.  He has worked in cancer research and cancer care since 1976.

After completing a Natural Sciences degree at the University of Cambridge in 1971, he undertook undergraduate medical training at King’s College Hospital in London and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and in the Princess Margaret Hospital and Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto.  He was a clinical research fellow at the Institute for Cancer Research and Royal Marsden and became a Consultant and Senior Lecturer there in 1984.

His early clinical research work was initially in haematological malignancies, stem cell biology, bone marrow transplantation and antiviral therapy and included the introduction of acyclovir into clinical practice.  He now works mainly with patients and urological cancers.  

His current research programmes are in biotherapy and in clinical cancer proteomics and a long term research programme in psychosocial oncology and was made a life member of the British Psychosocial Oncology Society in 2004.  

From 1993 to 2000 he was Consultant Advisor to the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Kenneth Calman, on cancer services in England and Wales and undertook the evidence analysis that supported the Expert Advisory Group (Calman/Hine) report on cancer care which developed proposals for specialised multidisciplinary care in Cancer Centres, Cancer Units and Cancer Networks.  In 2000 Professor Selby was appointed as Director of the National Cancer Research Network (NCRN), which was charged with providing a world class infrastructure, established Cancer Research Networks and was successful in increasing the clinical trials activity in the UK in cancer four-fold and providing a model which substantially influenced developments for other aspects of health care in the UK and in many other countries across the world.  

Between 2005 and 2010 he was joint Director of the UK Clinical Research Network (UKCRN), responsible for overseeing the support of clinical trials within the NHS across all of healthcare.  He was appointed Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998, and was awarded a CBE in 2001 for services to cancer research and cancer care.  In 2011 he was awarded a DSc.  
In 2007 Peter became President of the Association of Cancer Physicians and also won the Pfizer Excellence in Oncology Lifetime Achievement award.  In 2010 he was appointed a Senior Investigator of the National Institute for Health Research.  

Peter has been Director of the Leeds Biomedical and Health Research Centre since 2008 which links basic science with translational and clinical research in Leeds and Director of the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine (LIMM) since 2010.

Get in touch

If you require further information or have any comments please get in touch.

020 7242 0200

Contact us

Share this page