The work of the Centre is being taken forward by the Health Education England Genomics Education Programme. To find out more about the programme click here.


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Meet the team

The NHS National Genetics and Genomics Education Centre merged with the National School of Healthcare Science in June 2014. Here are some of the staff who contributed to the achievements of the Centre since its inception in 2005.


Professor Peter Farndon, CBE

Peter Farndon led the team as the Centre's director, drawing on a longstanding interest and experience in genetics education. He trained in paediatrics, general medicine and genetics, and has been involved with the practical application of genetics for patients for over 30 years, recently retiring as a Consultant Clinical Geneticist. He is Professor of Clinical Genetics at the University of Birmingham and holds an MSc in medical education. He gained an MD for research in Gorlin syndrome, a condition which predisposes to skin cancer.

He was founding chairman of the Joint Committee on Medical Genetics, and of the UK Genetic Testing Network. He has held posts as an officer in the Clinical Genetics Society, British Society for Human Genetics and European Society of Human Genetics, where he was chairman of the education committee. He was an adviser for the genetics white paper, and a member of the Human Genomics Strategy Group. Peter was awarded a CBE for services to medicine in 2011.

Mrs Nancy Bailey,
PA/Office Administrator

Nancy Bailey

Nancy has extensive experience as a PA/Office Administrator. While most of her career has been spent in the private sector, she has worked within the NHS since 2010 and is enjoying the experience, having spent 12 months at South Birmingham PCT engaging in GP appraisals followed by 12 months at the Clinical Genetics Unit, Birmingham Women's Hospital, as Support Secretary.


Dr Michelle Bishop,
Senior Education Development Officer

Michelle has a background in molecular biology and clinical genetics, working as a genetic counsellor in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. She has an honours degree in biochemistry, graduate diploma in Genetic Counselling and a PhD in the field of genetics education. She also has extensive experience in teaching genetics to high school and medical school students. Michelle supports the genetics education and training of medical students, Foundation trainees, non-genetics specialty trainees including GP trainees and doctors in practice. This includes the development of learning outcomes across the continuum of medical education and the development and evaluation of genetics resources for medical practitioners.

Mrs Candy Cooley,
National Genetics Awareness Project Manager

Candy Cooley M.Med.Sci, BSc (Hons) Edu, DPSN, DN, ONC, SRN, RSCN has a background in both education and clinical management. She first joined the team in September 2007 from a management role within a Primary Care Trust. Before that she was Head of Division for Cancer & Palliative Care at B'ham City University where she had worked as a lecturer for 15 years. For the last two years she has been working at NHS West Midlands, the Strategic Health Authority. Her role at the SHA was initially as Head of Hospital & Specialist Education within the Workforce Deanery and then as a Patient Safety Manager within the Quality Directorate. Her role also included working on the QIPP agenda for Care Homes and ThinkGlucose with the National Institute for Innovation and Improvement.  

Ms Sarah Eades,
Education Development Specialist

Sarah has had a long career in nursing, predominately in the primary care setting. Previously, she taught pre- and post-registration nurses at Birmingham City University and University of Wolverhampton, where she predominantly taught genetics and ethics on primary care, public health and non-medical prescribing courses. Sarah has a BSc Hons in community nursing specialist practitioner, a post-graduate certificate in higher education, and an MA Medical Ethics and Law. Her dissertation was on the ethics of newborn screening for Fragile X.

Mr William Foster,
Education Development Officer

William helped to develop a genetic testing for health website in conjunction with UKGTN, having formerly been responsible for the Genetic Conditions Specialist Collection on NHS Evidence. He has a degree in Mathematics and Operational Research from Lancaster University, but his working life has been spent in information management. In addition to his professional experience in a number of sectors, he has over 20 years' experience as a university educator in information and library management courses including responsibility for the design and development of a Health Information Services Management module for Macmillan Cancer Support information centre managers.

Ms Sandie Gay,
Education Development Specialist

Sandie graduated as a pharmacist and then qualified as a further education teacher with an adult literacy specialism. Having developed a passion for using digital technologies for learning and teaching, she went on to deliver staff skills development training in a variety of contexts and sectors. Her teaching experience in further and higher education enabled her to achieve Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status with the Institute for Learning, and recognition as Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Her research experience includes educational projects such as ‘Barriers to higher education for vocational learners’. She has also co-authored a guide, published by NIACE, following research in ‘Using e-books and e-readers for adult learning’. Until April 2013, Sandie managed a FE workforce development project allowing teachers to map their existing teaching qualification and enable them to develop further as required for their role. Sandie’s role at the Centre focused on facilitating the integration of genomics into the training of health professionals through a variety of means, including developing and working with an Educator Champions network.

Ms Silvana Ioannou,
Communications Specialist

Silvana began her career in broadcast journalism and has over 15 years' communications experience. Silvana has worked for high-profile education programmes for BBC/OU and ITV. She has industry awards for her work in specialist factual and broadcast media. Silvana uses many communication channels to create, tailor and deploy key messages about genetics to all stakeholder audiences and raise the Centre's profile. Silvana specialised in marketing for her postgraduate diploma in management studies and also has a postgraduate certificate in journalism. 

Ms Áine Kelly,
Web and Multimedia Editor

Áine joined the Centre with 15 years of journalistic experience under her belt, gained predominantly within business publishing in print and online. A graduate of English Literature, her career to date has centred around producing, designing and editing content for professional sectors, having previously worked on award-winning magazines, journals and websites within the legal and insurance industries. As the Centre’s web and multimedia editor, she focused on creating, editing and promoting high-quality digital content to meet the educational needs of key audience groups.

Peter Lunt

Dr Peter Lunt,
Senior Clinical Advisor (Genetics and Genomics)

Peter joined the team in October 2012, bringing more than 23 years' experience as a Consultant Clinical Geneticist in Bristol. Prior to medical training he took a Natural Science degree and MSc in Genetics. He set up the Clinical Genetics service in Bristol with a general remit, but specialising in Neuromuscular, Neurogenetics and Paediatric genetics, including initiating an international research network for FSH muscular dystrophy. From 2006-09 he was the Clinical Genetic Adviser to UKGTN. Throughout his career Peter has been involved in teaching medical students, primary care and other medical specialties, as well as other health care professionals. At NGGEC, Peter helped to write and co-ordinate resources for the introduction of genomic medicine into the curricula of medical students and other health professionals, together with several e-learning modules for GPs and for trainees in a range of medical specialties.

Miss Michelle Madeley,
Digital Resource Developer

Michelle managed a range of printed and electronic projects, with her role including responsibilities to manage the scheduling and costs for the production of the Centre's publications and resources using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Michelle also co-ordinated and oversaw the Centre's conferences, courses and meetings, and has a long background in administration and events management, having come to the Centre from a post in the Careers Service at Aston University. 

Mr Rob Newton,
Education Development Specialist

Rob graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology before completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education. Following several years of teaching biology and chemistry, he completed a Master of Science degree in Medical Diagnostics. Rob joined the Centre in 2005 initially working on pharmacy and dietetics development before moving on to co-ordinate a wider range of projects. He also completed a PGDip in Research Methods in Education and a PGCert in Online and Distance Education.

Mr Tim Packwood,
E-Learning Development Officer

Tim has a BSc in multimedia web development and PGdip in online and distance education. Following several years in higher and further education, he joined the Centre in January 2013 to work on a variety of multimedia, web and education projects. Tim has a keen interest in the development of mobile web systems and the potential benefits these could bring to the training and education of others.

Professor Alain Li Wan Po,
Lead Professional - Pharmacy and Pharmacogenomics

Alain is Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Pharmacotherapy, Nottingham, UK. He has held the chairs of Pharmaceutics and Clinical Pharmaceutics at the Universities of Nottingham and Aston, and The Queen's University of Belfast, and acted as examiner at numerous national and international universities. He is Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. He has published four books and over 100 papers in both medical and pharmaceutical journals. He has served as a member of the UK Committee on Safety of Medicines (now the Commission on Human Medicines), and is a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Royal Statistical Society. Trained in Pharmacy (BPharm, PhD), Statistics, Economics and Mathematical Sciences (BA and BSc), his current research interest is in evidence-based pharmacogenomics and personalised pharmacotherapy.

Mr Stuart Sutherland,
E-learning Manager

Stuart joined the Centre from the University of Derby, where he was the Academic Head of University of Derby Online (UDOL), a new division within the university responsible for the development and delivery of all its online programmes across a wide range of subject disciplines from Nursing and Counselling to IT and Law.

He is an English Literature graduate with over 20 years’ experience of working at all levels of the education system - from primary, secondary and FE classrooms to HE lecture theatres - and also of working for government and in the third sector. For the last 14 years, he has worked on and led a diverse body of online learning initiatives, for diverse and international groups of learners, as a teacher, a tutor, a community manager, a developer, a project manager and a senior manager.

Professor Kevin Whelan,
Professional Advisor in Academic Dietetics

Kevin graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry and an MSc in Nutrition and Dietetics before practising as a Registered Dietitian within the NHS.  His PhD and post-doctoral research has involved the use of a genomic approach to measuring the impact of diet on the colonic microbiota. In addition, he has undertaken quantative and qualitative research investigating the knowledge, confidence and involvement in genetics and nutritional genomics of dietitians in the UK and overseas. He is Professor of Dietetics at King's College London.

Professor Maggie Kirk,
Professional Advisor for Nursing

Maggie is Head of Research at the Faculty of Health, Sport & Science, University of Glamorgan, Leader of the Genomics Policy Unit and lead author of "Fit for Practice in the Genetics Era. A competence based education framework for nurses, midwives and health visitors." She also led the Task and Finish Group that reported to the Professional Advisory Board for Nursing and Midwifery on Genetics and Genomics and the implications for nursing and midwifery. Maggie was awarded the 2006 ISONG Founders' Award for her "outstanding contribution to nursing education in genetics". 

Dr Emma Tonkin,
Senior Research Fellow

Emma is Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Health, Sport & Science, University of Glamorgan.  With a background in molecular biology (human genetics) and experience in communicating complex scientific information to patient families, Emma joined the Centre as Education Development Officer for the nursing professions in 2007. In this role she worked to raise awareness about genetics applied to nursing practice and was involved in supporting education and training in genetics at both pre- and post-registration levels. Emma continues to be involved in the web-based genetics education resource 'Telling Stories, Understanding Real Life Genetics'.