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Manchester scientist appointed new BBSRC boss

08 Jul 2008

The University of Manchester’s Professor Douglas Kell has been appointed as the next Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Prof Doug Kell

Prof Kell is a leading figure in the field of systems biology, the multidisciplinary approach to tackling complex biological problems using theory, computer modelling and experimentation. It is revolutionising how bioscientists think and work and will make the outputs of their work both more useful, and easier to use, in industry and policymaking.

Prof Kell was an early pioneer in the development of systems to generate and handle the huge amounts of data that followed the emergence of the ‘omic’ sciences – such as genomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

His work has enabled researchers to harness the power of these approaches by giving them the tools to interpret and analyse the data generated by modern biology.

Prof Kell is currently Professor of Bioanalytical Science at the University of Manchester and Director of the BBSRC-funded Manchester Centre for Integrative Systems Biology.

He will maintain his scientific links by continuing to work one day a week at the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre.

Prof Kell said: "I am delighted to take this opportunity to lead BBSRC at what is a very exciting time for post-genomic and predictive biology and their application across the biosciences.

“The UK has a world-class bioscience research community which underpins vital sectors such as agriculture, healthcare and food production. Our aim must now be to embed new, multidisciplinary approaches to tackling the major problems where bioscience can help with solutions, and to do so in a way that not only sustains and builds on the excellence of UK bioscience research but which continues to maximise the economic and social impact of BBSRC science."

Dr Peter Ringrose, Chairman of BBSRC, said: “I am very pleased to welcome the appointment of Professor Doug Kell as the next Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of BBSRC.

“Prof Kell has a long association with BBSRC and BBSRC science. He has not only been a pioneer in his own field of work but has served the research community for a number of years through membership of multiple BBSRC bodies. As chair of a review of BBSRC’s research in bioenergy, he demonstrated a willingness to take on the challenges facing both bioscience and society as a whole.

“UK bioscience is amongst the strongest in the world. Our challenge in the future is to continue to make an impact internationally while maximising the social and economic impact of our research. Prof Kell is ideally placed to lead BBSRC and the bioscience community with a world-class track record in multidisciplinary research and a strong history of working to commercialise his science.”

Prof Kell will take up his post on 1 October 2008 and the appointment is for four years.