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Professor Elizabeth Simpson

MA, VetMB, honFRCVS, FRS, FMedSci

Fellowship Board Election 2020 Vice-Chair candidate Professor Elizabeth SimpsonCandidate 3 of 4



Dr John Walmsley, Professor Robin Franklin


Candidate Biography

Education & training

  • 1957-1963 Cambridge BA, MA, VetMB, MRCVS
  • 1966-1969 Cambridge, postgraduate veterinary pathology training



  • 1963-1965 New Brunswick Canada, private practice, small animal, horses, wild life
  • 1965-1966 Ottawa, Canada, Govt Virology lab.
  • 1966-1969 Cambridge Veterinary School, Junior lecturer, Pathology
  • 1969-1972 National Institute for Medical Research, London, research scientist
  • 1972-1973 National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, visiting research fellow
  • 1973-1994 MRC Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, Group head, research scientist
  • 1994-2004 Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, Group head, Deputy Director
  • 2005-present Emeritus professor, Imperial College


Scientific advisory boards, Grants, fellowship and strategy committees, member, chair:

  • 1982-present MRC, BBSRC, WT, CRUK, ERC, Royal Society, Academy of Medical & Sciences
  • 1994-2001 Roslin Institute Advisory Board
  • 2006-2012 Govt South Korea science funding advisor
  • 2012-2017 RVC Council
  • 2014-2017 RCVS Scientific Advisory Panel



  • 1967-2019 over 300 research publications including animal welfare, pathology & immunology, genetics, and transplantation. Speaker at national and international scientific meetings and invited University seminar speaker.
  • 1999 elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
  • 2000 OBE for services to research
  • 2010 elected Fellow of the Royal Society and honFRCVS
  • 2015 HonDSc Imperial College


Outside interests 

Writing, music and theatre.


Conflicts of Interest 



Candidate Statement

The practise of veterinary and human medicine is based on scientific knowledge about living organisms. This has recently advanced very fast, providing new investigative tools to explore previous hypotheses and generate new paradigms. Humans are just one animal species; comparative studies – in anatomy, physiology, pathology, genetics, immunology – provide information about structures and functions shared across the animal kingdom.

Education for practitioners of veterinary and human medicine needs to include the ‘one medicine’ concept. It is underpinned by knowledge about normal development and physiology, how this can be derailed by disease and how combatted by prevention and treatment. Investigation the cause of outbreaks of new diseases, like BSE, Sars, Mers, Zika and COVID-19 depends on microbiologists, epidemiologists, immunologists and public health experts. The same is true for combatting rabies, tuberculosis, AIDS and insect-transmitted viral & parasite zoonoses.

Veterinary graduates are not well represented in these basic and applied specialities, where their knowledge of whole animal physiology and pathology allows them to make a unique contribution. To do so requires postgraduate training outside the area of veterinary specialisms. Veterinary Schools recruit very high calibre students but do not always stretch their imagination and curiosity by exposure to ideas and career paths outside those of clinical practitioners. The broader options need to be explored by veterinary and medical students within their curriculum, emphasising basic science as underpinning biomedicine and by interaction with leading scientists who can open new doors, intellectually and providing access to postgraduate training establishments in Universities, Institutes and industry. 

If elected as Vice-Chair I would encourage the fellowship to raise the profile of the veterinary profession by broadening student access to intercalated degrees and research training fellowships. By opening doors to careers in biomedical science their skills would contribute to interdisciplinary efforts to solve serious problems.

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