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Oversight Group

An independent Oversight Group has been established to help ensure HFEA’s engagement process throughout the mitochondria public dialogue is balanced, accessible and far-reaching. The Group is made up of a diverse range of experts who each bring a different perspective to the project.


Biographies of members

Andrew Acland

Andrew Acland is a Dialogue and Engagement Specialist at Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre. 

He has worked as a mediator and facilitator of stakeholder and public engagement for over twenty years, and is the author of three books and many articles on conflict, public engagement and relationship management.


Natalie Gamble

Natalie Gamble leads a specialist fertility law firm, ‘Natalie Gamble Associates’.

She has helped many hundreds of families created through surrogacy, donor conception and IVF, and champions alternative families in the shaping of UK fertility law, both in Parliament and in court.


Professor Neva Haites - Chair

Neva is the Professor in Medical Genetics at the University of Aberdeen, Vice Principal of Life Science and Medicine and an Honorary Consultant Clinical Geneticist at Aberdeen Royal Hospitals NHS Trust.

She has a special interest in inherited predisposition to cancer and has chaired the Cancer Genetics Sub-Group of the Scottish Cancer Group for a number of years.

As a Clinical Geneticist, she sees individuals and families with a history of cancer and provides counselling, genetic testing and services for surveillance where appropriate. Neva is an HFEA member and is the chair of the HFEA’s Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee.


Alastair Kent

Alastair Kent is the Director of the Genetic Alliance UK (formerly Genetic Interest Group) which aims to improve the lives of people affected by genetic conditions by ensuring that high quality services and information are available to all who need them. Prior to joining Genetic Alliance UK, Alastair worked for a number of voluntary organisations on issues concerning policy, service development and disabled people.  


Dr Jackie Leach Scully

Jackie is a Reader in Social Ethics and Bioethics and Co-Director of the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) Research Centre, at Newcastle University.

She was initially a molecular biologist, and then switched to bioethics with a special interest in genetic disease, disability, and public education. Her current research projects concern religious identity and bioethics, and DNA identification of human remains.


Dr Robin Lovell Badge

Dr Robin Lovell-Badge obtained his PhD in Embryology at University College, London. After postdoctoral research in Cambridge and Paris he established an independent laboratory in 1982 at the MRC Mammalian Development Unit, UCL.

In 1988 he moved to the National Institute for Medical Research, becoming Head of the Division of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics in 1993. Major themes of his work include sex determination, development of the nervous system and the biology of stem cells within the early embryo, the CNS and the pituitary.

He is a member of several advisory boards, including the HFEA's Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee and the Council of the Royal Society.


Sharmila Nebhrajani

Sharmila Nebhrajani joined the Association of Medical Research Charities as chief executive in November 2011 after a varied career in media, technology and health including 12 years at the BBC as Chief Operating Officer of BBC Future Media and Technology.

Sharmila has held several non-executive roles including Deputy Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Board Member of the Human Tissue Authority and Charity Commissioner.

She has also recently been appointed to the General Council of the University of Sussex and the Audit Committee of the Institute for Cancer Research. She was a World Fellow at Yale University in 2007 where she lectured on media policy and practical cases in medical ethics.


Professor Michael Parker

Michael Parker is Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford. One of his main research interests is in the ethical aspects of the clinical use of genetics.

Since 2001, he has co-ordinated the Genethics Club, a national ethics forum for health professionals and genetics laboratory staff in the United Kingdom, which discusses ethical issues and good practice. This work has been published as Ethical Problems and Genetics Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2012).


Paul Preston

Paul is the Honorary Director of The Children’s Mitochondrial Disease Network (CMDN), founded in 1998. He has been invited to attend mitochondrial symposiums in France, the USA and Russia.

Most of his time is now spent supporting families with mitochondrial disease through informational and practical resources; raising mitochondrial disease awareness; and campaigning for improved treatment and management of mitochondrial disorders. He is a member of the Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, The British Inherited Metabolic Disease Group, the Mitochondrial Research Society, the Disability Alliance and Rare Disease UK.

Paul is married and has three children with a mitochondrial disorder, two of whom require 24 hour care, one child died in 1992.


Dr Sue Price

Dr Sue Price is the Consultant in Clinical Genetics for Northamptonshire. She has been a member of the HFEA since 2006.

She has an interest in PGD, currently sits on the HFEA’s Licence Committee, and is the Deputy Chair of the HFEA’s Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee.


Josephine Quintavalle

Josephine founded ‘Comment on Reproductive Ethics’ (CORE) in 1994. CORE is a public interest group focusing on ethical dilemmas surrounding human reproduction, particularly the new technologies of assisted conception. It aims to facilitate informed and balanced debate, to involve lay people in discussion of the issues involved, to encourage broad participation of philosophers, theologians and social scientists in dialogue, and, where necessary, “to bring about democratic reform to the legislation controlling these practices.”


The Right Reverend Lee Rayfield

The Right Reverend Dr Lee Rayfield has been the Bishop of Swindon since June 2005 and is an ordained scientist. 

After reading Biology at the University of Southampton, he completed a PhD in the field of Immunology at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London, and in 1984 was appointed as a Lecturer in Immunology at the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s & St Thomas’s Hospitals.  He has over 30 publications in scientific journals. 

Since his ordination in 1993, he has sought to build bridges between the worlds of science and religious faith and create a climate of understanding and respect, both in society and the Church.  He was a member of the UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee from 2000-2009 and, as a Bishop, has assisted the Church of England to reflect on its response to a range of challenging bioethical issues.  Dr Rayfield is married and has three children aged between 21 and 28 years. 


Dr Anita Shaw

Dr Anita Shaw is Deputy CEO of Techniquest, the science discovery centre in Cardiff.  Her PhD is in Biochemistry and she has 4 years' post-doctoral experience in medical genetics.

Techniquest has worked with the University of Glamorgan and the Wales Gene Park on a number of occasions to facilitate young people's input into consultations on social and ethical issues in science.  This includes a citizen's jury on designer babies, and responses to HFEA consultations on PGD, and sperm and egg donation.


Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee is a columnist for the Guardian. She was formerly BBC Social Affairs Editor, Columnist and Associate Editor of the Independent, Co-editor of the Washington Monthly and a reporter and feature writer for the Observer


Page last updated: 15 October 2014

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