Three new Trustees to bring unique expertise to UK DRI Board

Synapse 3 D Red

We are pleased to announce that three new Trustees will join our Board this year. Joining the nine existing Trustees, the new Board members bring a wealth of expertise that will prove invaluable to the Institute as it enters its next phase under new Director Prof Siddharthan Chandran. The three new Trustees are Emma Whitcombe (Charity Consultant), Rabia Khan (Serna Bio) and Roudie Shafie (OVID Health).

William Rucker, Chair of the UK DRI Board of Trustees, said:

“I am delighted to welcome three excellent new Trustees to the UK DRI Board. Their fresh perspectives and diverse experience and expertise will be extremely valuable in leading the Institute through the next phase of our development. Now is a hugely optimistic time in the field as progress continues to gather pace, and these additions to the Board will help us realise our ambition of transforming the lives of those affected by dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

Emmawhitcombeheadshot 1

Emma is a charity professional, with over 20 years of experience in fundraising, philanthropy and donor relations at high profile charities including Save the Children and the MS Society. She is currently Interim Executive Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Emma said:

“I am very proud to have joined the UK DRI Board. As is the case for many of us, dementia is a personal cause for me. I have sadly witnessed family members succumb to the ravages of the disease. I have also had the honour of working personally with older people with many forms of dementia during my twenties as a care assistant. Therefore, I recognise the tremendous benefits that breakthroughs in treatments could have. The latest news gives me great confidence that we are at the tipping point so hoped for by us all.”

Rabia Khan

Rabia is an expert in emerging technologies, who has spent the past decade building scientific and operational strategies and successful teams at the intersection of machine learning, biology and business operations. Most recently, Rabia founded Serna Bio, which uses synthetic biology, machine learning and massive data generation to discover small molecule modulators of RNA.

Rabia said:

“With the incidence of dementia ever increasing in our ageing population, the world-leading work of the UK DRI will transform the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of this debilitating condition that not only affects people living with the disease, but those around them. Having seen the impact of dementia and related disorders firsthand, I am thrilled to bring my expertise in AI and Drug Discovery to support the incredible work of the UK DRI and the advancement of therapies from the bench to the bedside.”

Roudie Picture

Roudie Shafie is an experienced public policy and communications professional who has led successful campaigns to secure policy change and significant public investments, including the 2015 Treasury funding commitment to set up the UK DRI. She is currently a partner at specialist health communications agency OVID Health, where she works with C-Suite clients and senior stakeholders to deliver game-changing communications, government affairs and patient advocacy strategies.

Roudie said:

“This is the most exciting era in dementia research and the UK DRI has, in a very short time, shown itself to be a world leader in discovery and translation science. The collaborative model of the UK DRI across geography, disciplines, and sectors makes it a compelling offer to be a part of. Dementia has touched so many of our lives and mine is no exception, from my 100-year-old grandmother to my dear friend’s father in his 50s. I am joining the UK DRI Board for them.”

Article published: 2 August 2023
Banner image: Shutterstock/3D Red