Profiles of the Strategy Group
Professor Eric Alton, Imperial College London was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge and Westminster Medical School and subsequently undertook six years of general medical training. He was awarded an MRC Training Fellowship, British Heart Foundation Intermediate Fellowship and a Wellcome Trust Senior Clincial Fellowship and over the last last twenty-five years has been involved in developing a translational programme of gene therapy for cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases.
He is an NIHR Senior Investigator, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and leads Cluster B of the NIHR Clinical Research Network.
Eric coordinates the UK CF Gene Therapy Consortium.
Dr Chris Boyd is a Senior Cystic Fibrosis Trust Research Fellow and is Group Leader of CF Gene Therapy and Reader in the Experimental Medicine Section of the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine (CGEM), Western General Hospital.
Chris acquired expertise in molecular biology through training in prokaryotic biochemistry and plasmid recombination in both bacterial and animal cells. His current main interest is in the development of viral vectors for pulmonary gene therapy with a particular focus on the genotoxicity of lentiviral vectors, and he participates in a variety of research projects in the Consortium aimed at translating gene therapy into clinical practice.
Professor Jane Davies graduated MB ChB from the University of Dundee Medical School in 1987 and undertook clinical training in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine and Infectious Disease/ Immunology in London.
Jane has worked alongside the Consortium for over two decades, providing clinical leadership for the wave 1, non-viral CF trials. Her other interests are in clinical trial design, the standardisation of sensitive outcome measures (she leads the European CF Core Facility for Lung Clearance Index) and airway infection, in particular with the common bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Jane is an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, providing specialist care for children with chronic, complex lung diseases.
Professor Deborah Gill is a translational scientist with 30 years of experience in the field of gene therapy. Deborah undertook a Ph.D. at the University of Warwick where she discovered the defining member of the ABC Superfamily of proteins, which was reported in Nature, and is now one of the largest known protein families.
Following post-doctoral work she became an Assistant Scientist at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford, and worked with two human members of the ABC Superfamily, the Multi-Drug resistance P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) and the CFTR protein central to Cystic Fibrosis (ABCC7). In the mid-1990s, she undertook two clinical studies to evaluate non-viral gene therapy for Cystic Fibrosis, including the first multi-dose clinical trial.
As part of the UK Gene Therapy Consortium's clinical programme Deborah is responsible for the manufacture and procurement of the gene therapy product for clinical trials.
Uta is a Professor in Molecular Medicine at Imperial College London, President of the British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (www.bsgct.org/) from 2017 to 2021 and a Director (non-executive) of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. Uta has over 20 years experience in developing advanced therapeutic medicines.
Her research interests are related to the development of gene and cell therapy-based treatments for cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases. As part of her translational research, Uta has overseen vector and biomarker development, toxicology studies, as well as GMP vector manufacturing. Uta is Co-Investigator on several gene therapy trials. Uta is a Strategy Group Member of the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium and a member of the MRC-DPFS panel.
In addition, Uta is interested in teaching and work-force development. She is Deputy-director for post-graduate research at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Programme director for the MSc in Genes, Drugs and Stem cells-Novel Therapies at Imperial College and chairs the Pan-UK working group for ATMP workforce training.
Professor Stephen Hyde has a D.Phil. in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford where he studied the structure and function of ABC proteins, including CFTR, the protein responsible for Cystic Fibrosis.
During post-doctoral research at Oxford, Stephen was the first to demonstrate that gene transfer could correct the Cystic Fibrosis defect in transgenic mice. This led to an extensive pre-clinical and clinical programme of gene therapy.
Stephen is now a Professor of Molecular Therapy at Oxford University, co-directs the Gene Medicine Research Group developing gene transfer vectors for clinical application with Professor Deborah Gill, and leads on Regulatory Affairs within the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium.
Dr McLachlan is currently a Group Leader at The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh.
After completing his PhD at the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Aberdeen in 1992, his interest in CF developed through six years postdoctoral research in the lab of Prof David Porteous in Edinburgh.
These studies involved the characterisation of a Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Mouse model and the preclinical development of non-viral gene therapy protocols leading to a clinical trial of nasal CF gene therapy in Edinburgh in 1997. The main focus of his research has been developing the sheep and pig as models for pre-clinical development of lung-directed gene therapy protocols to evaluate both safety and efficacy of candidate gene transfer agents.
He has a particular interest in the application of large animal models to other areas of respiratory disease/biology.