The Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu - Patron
To say that Desmond Tutu needs no introduction would be doing him a grave disservice. A man as influential and preeminent in the cause of peace deserves the greatest fanfare. Long before his Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984, Archbishop Tutu was a champion of the poor and downtrodden, a gentle and passionate advocate for a better world. Against the brutal backdrop of apartheid-era South Africa, he gazed beyond the political fog towards “a democratic and just society without racial divisions”. Since the end of apartheid in 1993 he has continued to speak out on issues of discrimination, poverty and HIV/AIDS. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he received the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Quinn Bradley - US Ambassador
Quinn Josiah Crowninshield Bradlee, FRSA, FSA Scot, MStJ, is the founder of Friends of Quinn, an inspirational and ground-breaking online support network for young adults with learning differences (LD). Son of the late Ben Bradlee, (the Washington Post executive editor most famous for his part in exposing the misdeeds of Richard Nixon), and bestselling author Sally Quinn, he was diagnosed with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS) at the age of 14. The syndrome manifests in a range of physical ailments and learning disabilities, but in Quinn it has acted as a spur for action. In addition to the Friends, he spends time as a documentary film-maker and author. His book A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures documents his experiences; and he co-authored A Life’s Work: Fathers and Sons with Ben Bradlee. Quinn also assisted in the making of HBO’s I can’t do this but I can do that, a film for families about learning differences. With a mission “to connect the LD world”, he is a huge asset to the work and public profile of The Mother and Child Foundation.
Professor Michael A Crawford - Research Director
Professor Crawford is the pioneering scientist who, in 1972, presented the world with one of the most important messages it will ever hear. Drawing on his research in Africa and the UK, he revealed that the evolution and health of the brain – our past and future, and our very humanity – depend on certain omega-3 fatty acids. It was the crowning moment in a career that had always sought to work in the gap where chemistry and medicine meet. Since then he has put his weight behind research and community action to help humanity tackle the rising tide of mental ill-health, and to underline the importance of good maternal nutrition. His academic work, awards and publications continue apace; and he is also founder of The Mother and Child Foundation and its research arm, the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition.
You can find a longer biography of Professor Crawford here.
Raymond Keene, OBE - Chairman
A chess Grandmaster and FIDE International Arbiter, Ray Keene is the world’s most prolific writer on chess, with a tally of brain-related achievements that redefines the word ‘formidable’. His column in The Times has made him a household name; and that is just the tip of a literary and journalistic iceberg that includes The Spectator, Encyclopaedia Britannica and over 100 books. A player in eight Chess Olympiads, and winner of many international chess tournaments, Ray has also organised World Chess Championships, World Memory Championships, Mind Sports Olympiads, and Brain of the Year Awards. The aforementioned iceberg is of Titanic-sinking proportions, and the full list of Ray’s honours, titles and achievements would fill this website twice over.
Ray succeeded Major Christopher Robinson (a founding director of the Mother and Child Foundation) as Chairman in 2016.
Professor Cedric Hassall FRS - Vice President
Professor Hassall has carried out research and teaching in universities across the world. A native of New Zealand, his academic footprint is huge. He held various Fellowships including Carnegie and Rockefeller (USA), and taught in UK institutions, including University College Swansea (Head of the Department of Chemistry, 1957-1971), University College London, and Imperial College. He was Director of Research at Roche Products for 1 years, worked for the Royal University of Malta, the University of Jordan and the University of Aleppo, and has been visiting professor at the University of Kuwait and Aligarh University in India. Professor Hassall is also a member of various committees of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a fellow of the Royal Society.
Professor Sir Kenneth Stuart - Director
A champion of medical science and its place in society at large, Professor Stuart made this clarion call in 1996: “There is clearly a need for some form of National Ethical Council with a wide-ranging membership, whose role would not only be to review the issues that stemmed or seemed likely to stem from medical scientific advance but also to promote community understanding and discussion of them.” Time has not dimmed the urgency and importance of this message.
Amongst other roles, Sir Kenneth is currently an Honorary Medical and Scientific Advisor to the Barbados High Commission in London, and Chairman of the Commonwealth Health Research Inter-regional Consultation. His brilliant past includes prestigious fellowships and advisory roles, work with the World Bank, WHO and the Wellcome Trust, and Research Associate positions at Harvard Medical School and St Mary’s Hospital, London.
Lord John Nicolas Rea of Eskdale – of County of Cumberland - Director
A member of the House of Lords since 1982, Nick Rea has a lifelong academic and professional interest in food and health issues. He was research fellow in paediatrics in Ibadan and Lagos in Nigeria from 1962 to 1965, and lecturer in social medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School in London from 1966 to 1968. He received his doctorate MD) in 1969. From 1957 to 1962, and from 1968 to 1993, he also worked as a GP in North London. In 1999 he was ‘elected’ to remain as a hereditary peer in the House of Lords. His work there has included opposition spokesman on health and international development, chairman of Health link Worldwide and Vice Chairman of the National Heart Forum. Nick retired from the Chairmanship of All Party Parliamentary Food and Health Forum in 2013. During this period he chaired an influential and insightful report on nutrition and mental health.
Dr Robert E Lister PhD, CBiol, FRSB - Trustee
Bob Lister has been Chairman of the National Training & Research Assessment Group (NTRAG Ltd) since 1999. He is also the Managing Director of Phylax Ltd (Health Care Consultants), Chairman of Kobic Ltd Medical Systems, and works as a Director of the Hunger Control Ltd (focus obesity management systems) and as Advisor to the Mitochondrial Diseases Group.
Dr Lister held many high-profile positions prior to this, including Director of International Affairs at the H.G. Pars Pharmaceutical Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Director at the G.D. Searle Preclinical Research Centre in Valbonne, France, and Director of Biological Sciences at the Inveresk Research International in Edinburgh. He has also been Chief Pharmacologist at MacFarlan Smith Ltd (Edinburgh), and Head of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the Arthur D. Little Institute in Edinburgh.
Bob is currently a member of the International Scientific Committee of The Little Foundation, an Honorary Fellow of the University of North London, and Chairman of the Steering Committee at the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Institute of Biology, and a member of the British Pharmacological Society and the British Holistic Medical Association, as well as treasurer of the McCarrison Society and Trustee to the London Piano Competition.
Fran Fawcett Peterson - Director and President of Friends of the Mother and Child Foundation, USA
Fran Fawcett Peterson is a longtime supporter of Professor Michael Crawford and his efforts to bring proper nutrition to pregnant women across the world. She began her career as a broadcast journalist in the early 1970s. Now retired, Fran serves on several philanthropic boards and takes on the occasional journalistic project.
Dr Rachel V Gow PhD - Trustee and Director of Communication and Campaigns (UK)
Rachel is keen to bridge the significant knowledge gap between the nutritional and psychiatric fields. Her area of expertise is in Child Neuropsychology, and her key research interests lie in the role of brain-selective nutrients and psychiatric disorders, with a specific interest in neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD.
Rachel is a guest researcher and Lead Associate Investigator of the Neuroimaging, Omega‐3 and Reward in Adults with ADHD (NORAA) trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, US. This study was the first randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, clinical trial to test the effects of omega‐3 fats in the brain activity of adults with ADHD. As one of the foremost experts in ADHD, she also offers practical help, support, consultancy, teaching and training services to individuals and organisations great and small.
Rachel is a Fellow of the Institute of Food, Brain and Behaviour, and an active member of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL). She has published many peer reviewed book chapters and scientific papers, and is currently writing a book on Nutritional Neuroscience.
There is a longer biography of Rachel Gow here.
Dr Zehra Hassam - Director
Zehra Hassam has a long association with charity work, and has helped the UK Muslim community for many years with medical screening and health advice. She became a Trustee of The Mother and Child Foundation in 2001.
Zehra was born in Tanzania, East Africa, and obtained her medical qualification from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. She came to the UK in 1972 to take up a post in the Pathology Department of St Thomas’s Hospital under Professor Michael Hunt. Since then she has also worked at various London hospitals, including St. Bartholomew’s.
Zehra is Consultant Microbiologist and Infection Control Doctor at Walsall Manor Hospital, West Midlands. She obtained her membership of the Royal College of Pathologists in 1979 and was made a Fellow of the College in 1992.
Michael D. Pirkis - Director
Michael Pirkis is a graduate of Kent and Lincoln University, New Zealand. He worked at the Uganda Veterinary Department 1958-1964 as Co-instigator of the 200 square mile Ankole Ranching Scheme in Western Province, in an area ravaged by the arrival of tsetse fly. His work involved the Land Use Investigation Unit, tsetse control, grassland management, and the management of scarce water resources. Michael also worked with the district administration to establish refugee camps on the Uganda border with Ruanda and the Congo.
Moving to Papua New Guinea, he then worked for the Department of Animal Industry, becoming the Principal of the New Guinea Lowlands Livestock Station in the mid-1970s, supervising the tropical beef cattle and pig breeding unit, as well as a training centre for indigenous farmers.
Michael is currently involved with several Christian and secular organisations in the UK and beyond.
Rev Simon H House
Only since the unravelling of epigenetics and genomic imprinting do many people find it credible that birth circumstances, and even conception, can have such a powerful effect on a person’s life. This has been Simon House’s prime area of interest for decades, and the focus of his work with Professor Michael Crawford, the McCarrison Society (of which he was Chair for many years), the Royal Society of Medicine’s Food & Health Forums, and on the editorial board of Nutrition & Health. An author of many books and papers, Simon has also presented to societies in various countries on the impact of the preconceptional effects of nutrition and emotions on a person’s life, and effective means of preventing damage. Epigenetics is a central theme in his work.
After a varied and inspirational lifetime bringing people and innovative ideas and methods together, Simon is currently surveying the real costs of developmental disorders, and highlighting ways of improving an unborn child’s chances of a happy, healthy life. Prevention of many problems lies in both partners’ assessment and preparation for conception, in ways validated by controlled trials and clinical records. In financial terms, let alone human, the possibilities are amazing.
Click here for a longer biography of Simon House, including selected publications.
While visiting two communities of the Himbas tribe of Northern Namibia, research and clinical/educational psychologist Antonella Sansone was able to make comparative observations of the epigenetic influences of each group. They were living in very different landscapes – one in a remote area, thus preserving their traditional diet, the other exposed to the influence of Western junk food. The insights Antonella gained from this study resonated with her many areas of interest – mindfulness (as the route to successful parenting), perinatal psychology, psychotherapy and medicine.
These areas instil all her written and teaching work. Her integrative approach acknowledges the invaluable role of maternal mindful nutrition in the young brain’s healthy development. She is particularly interested in the emotional and nutritional nurturing that takes place before conception, and believes in the important role of early parenting in preventing and counteracting later negative influences on children’s eating habits.
See here for a longer biography of Antonella Sansone.
Paul Sullivan - Content Manager
Paul is a writer, copy editor and digital content manager, with a very handy background in marketing. He specialises in issues relating to food and mental health, along with natural and social history, and has finally realised that these areas constitute one inter-connected greater theme, each one illuminating the others. The author of several books, his first opus Maypoles Martyrs and Mayhem (Bloomsbury, 1994) was heralded by the Times as “A perfectly conceived compendium of culture”, and his tenth title The Secret History of Oxford (The History Press, 2012) was one of BBC Online’s Books of the Year. Paul was a Radio 2 and Radio Five Live researcher and writer for many years, and was interviewed for the BBC’s World War One archive in 2014 on the subject of Oxford’s role in the birth of modern psychiatry. Whatever the medium, from social media and soundbites to articles and text books, his work is all about the story – boiling it down, breathing life into it, and finding the audience that most needs to hear it.