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Board of Trustees

As an exempt charity, The Institute of Cancer Research is governed by Trustees – collectively known as the Board of Trustees. The Trustees carry the responsibility of company directors of the ICR.


  • The Board of Trustees comprises up to 18 individuals, the majority of whom are appointed by the Board.
  • The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK each appoint a member to the Board.
  • The ICR’s Academic Board and the ICR’s student body each elect a member to the Board.
  • The Chief Executive and Dean of Academic and Research Affairs are ex-officio members of the Board. 

The Board of Trustees carries the overall responsibility for ensuring that the ICR pursues its charitable objects, complies with its own constitution and relevant regulations, applies its resources exclusively to its objects and enacts cancer research of the highest international standard.

The Board of Trustees:

  • Determines the ICR’s strategies and monitors the ICR’s strategic performance.
  • Approves its scientific and financial plans, annual report and accounts and governance structure.
  • Makes key appointments (Chief Executive, Dean of Academic and Research Affairs and Chief Operating Officer).
  • Approves new initiatives and non-recurrent expenditure costing £1 million or more.
  • Has established a number of sub-committees to exercise oversight in key areas on its behalf.

Find out more about the ICR’s committees

Board members

Professor Julia Buckingham CBE FMedSciHead shot of Professor Julia Buckingham

Julia took up the role of ICR Chair on 1 August 2021. She has a background in medical research and exceptional leadership experience in academic institutions and across the sector. She has devoted her career to leadership at the interface between scientific research and education.

She is passionate about creating the best possible workplace culture at research institutions – ensuring the environment for staff and students is stimulating, inspiring, inclusive and supportive.

She recently completed her term of office as President of Universities UK and is stepping down from her role as Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel University London in the next few months, once her successor is appointed. She continues to chair Concordat Strategy Group and previously chaired Athena SWAN Review Steering Group. 

Professor Kristian Helin 

Headshot of Kristian Helin, white male

Kristian joined the Board in September 2021 in ex-officio capacity as the ICR’s Chief Executive. He is a world-leading cancer researcher with international leadership experience.

He was previously Chair of the Cell Biology Program and director of the Center for Epigenetics Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and he spent 15 years as Director of the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Copenhagen.

He also worked at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan and is a member of EMBO. His research studies the role of chromatin-associated proteins (epigenetics) in the regulation of transcription, cell fate decisions and in cancer.

Professor Clare Isacke FMedSci 

Clare Isacke

Clare joined the ICR’s Board in 2013 in ex-officio capacity as Dean of Academic and Research Affairs. She is an expert in breast cancer metastasis who leads the Molecular Cell Biology Team in the ICR’s Division of Breast Cancer Research.

She joined the ICR in 2001 as Professor of Molecular Cell Biology in the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre, before being appointed its Deputy Director in 2004. Previously Clare was based at the Salk Institute in San Diego and was also Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at Imperial College London. She is a member of EMBO. 

Charlie Geffen

Charlie Geffen

Charlie is the ICR’s Deputy Chair and joined the Board in 2014. He is the former Senior Partner of Ashurst, the international law firm where he also led the private equity practice. He was Chair of the corporate practice in London of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the global US based firm, and is currently a Senior Adviser at Flint Global.

He has a number of non-executive roles, including as Chair of The International Stock Exchange Group, a member of Council at Surrey University, a Trustee at City Year UK and an external adviser on Department of Education panels for free schools.

Professor Chris Bakal

Professor Chris Bakal in a lab coat

Chris joined the ICR Board in February 2021 as its Academic Board representative. He studies the biological switches that cause cells to change shape, become cancerous and spread around the body. By understanding how these switches work, scientists may one day find a way to control them through drugs or other therapies.

He is Leader of the Dynamical Cell Systems Team within the Division of Cancer Biology at the ICR. 

William (Bill) Burns

Bill Burns

Bill was appointed to the ICR Board in 2014 and has a career in life sciences. He was at Roche for 28 years, and was their Pharma Division CEO for 9 years. He has been non-executive director at Roche (CH), Genentech (USA), Chugai (J) Shire (UK) and was a Trustee at Wellcome.

Currently he is Chair of Vestergaard (CH) and Molecular Partners (CH), Vice Chair of Mesoblast (AUS) and serves on the advisory boards of Health Care Royalties (USA); Novo Holdings (DK) and Epidarex (UK). He is also on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Integrated Oncology (D). 

Mandy Donald

Mandy Donald

Mandy was appointed to the ICR’s Board in August 2015, and chairs the ICR’s Audit Committee. She is also the Board’s diversity champion. Mandy is a chartered accountant by training and spent 18 years with Ernst & Young before refocusing her career to serve on the boards of a diverse range of organisations.

She is non-executive director and Chair of the Audit Committee at several companies including Liontrust plc, Punter Southall Group and Gowling WLG LLP.

Bastien Lecoeur

Headshot of Bastien Lecoeur

Bastien joined the ICR Board in March 2022 as its Student representative.

He recently graduated from a Masters Degree in Advanced Computer Science from Imperial College London. He has also obtained a General Engineering degree from Télécom Paris. Interested in the application of computer science in other scientific areas, he began his PhD at the ICR through the Convergence Science Centre in 2021. His research aims at accelerating MRI acquisition for radiotherapy and especially on the MR-Linac from the Royal Marsden Hospital.

Charlie Foreman BA, MPhil(Cantab)

Charlie Foreman

Charlie joined the ICR Board in October 2020. He has been a career investment banker, most recently as a Managing Director of Lazard & Co, where he headed up the European Capital markets team. He has now moved to being a Senior Advisor to Lazard & Co as he completed an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise at Cambridge.

Charlie has a focus on funding for life science companies and has joined the Board to help support the ICR’s philanthropic initiatives. He is also a Trustee of the Tennis and Rackets Association and is a keen golfer. 

Dr Iain Foulkes

Iain Foulkes

Iain was appointed to the ICR Board by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) in 2015. As Executive Director Research & Innovation, he is a member of CRUK’s Executive Board and oversees its research strategy and portfolio across discovery science, translational research, clinical and population research. 

As CEO of Cancer Research Technology (CRT), Iain is responsible for ensuring CRUK research is developed and commercialised rapidly and effectively. CRT has founded over 40 spin out companies and has led to 11 oncology market products which have had a profound impact on cancer patients. Iain has a PhD in cell biology from the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research.

Professor Nic Jones FMedSciNic Jones

Nic was appointed to the ICR’s Board in November 2017. He is a Trustee of Cancer Research UK’s Council of Trustees and is a Trustee at the Babraham Institute. As Director of Manchester Cancer Research Centre, he oversaw its development into one of the foremost comprehensive cancer centres in Europe and is now its Director of Strategic Initiatives.

From 2011-16 Nic was Cancer Research UK’s Chief Scientist with responsibility for overseeing its scientific strategy. He was also previously Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, and led a research team investigating specific signalling pathways implicated in cancer development and growth.

Professor Chris Molloy

Headshot of Chris Molloy

Chris has a 30-year international board and executive career in the life sciences. After 14 years at GSK he became Chief Operating Officer at MerLion Pharmaceuticals, an award-winning Singaporean anti-infectives biotech. Chris ran corporate development for the global informatics firm IDBS and was CEO of the executive search firm RSA Group before becoming the founding CEO of Medicines Discovery Catapult, the national centre for innovation in drug R&D. 

During the pandemic, Chris was founding Director of the Lighthouse Labs – the largest diagnostics project in UK history – and chaired the industry-governmental consortium on rapid testing that increased UK test manufacturing capacity by twenty-fold. Chris is chairman of Thriva, Exploristics and NorthWest EHealth and holds an honorary chair at the University of Manchester.

Karl Munslow-Ong

Karl Munslow-Ong

Karl was appointed to the ICR Board by The Royal Marsden as an alternate Trustee. He is Chief Operating Officer at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and was previously Deputy Chief Executive at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, having joined as their Chief Operating Officer in March 2015.

Karl started his career as a management consultant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers before moving to work at a strategic health authority. He was previously Chief Operating Officer at Hillingdon Hospital and has extensive operational management experience across a number of other acute trusts in London.

Dame Cally Palmer

Dame Cally Palmer

Cally joined the ICR’s Board of Trustees in June 1998 as The Royal Marsden’s representative. She is Chief Executive of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and National Cancer Director for NHS England and has held this dual role since 2015. As National Cancer Director, Cally is responsible for the development and implementation of the national strategy for cancer to improve survival and quality of life for all those affected by cancer. 

Cally has an MSc in management with distinction from the London Business School and was awarded a CBE in 2006 and a DBE in 2020 for her contribution to cancer medicine.

Ruchir RodriguesRuchir Rodrigues

Ruchir joined the ICR’s Board in 2020. He is a seasoned business leader with over 25 years in the digital industry. Ruchir is currently Head of Platforms and European Consumer Business at Barclays and he has been instrumental in establishing Barclays as a digital leader in the financial services industry. Ruchir spent over 18 years in the US in the technology and telecommunications industry, most notably at Verizon Communications as Group Vice President of Product Development.

He holds several patents for product and business innovation. Ruchir has a post-graduate degree in MIS & Computer Science from Arizona State University and a BS from the University of Pune, India.

John ShakeshaftJohn Shakeshaft

John joined the ICR Board in June 2021 and is the ICR’s Honorary Treasurer as well as its Chair of Investments and Building Development Committee. His career as a diplomat, banker, director and academic trustee has covered responsibility, finance and governance internationally. He is a Trustee and Chair of finance and resources at Cardiff University, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of the Home.

He is a member of the Investment Committee, Trinity College, Cambridge and a director of investment manager, Corestone, AG. Previously he was Deputy Chair of Council at Cambridge University and Trustee of the Institute of Historical Research.

There is a Members of our Board of Trustees privacy notice that details information we hold about our trustees.