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Membership Committee (MC)

The Membership Committee (MC) has an important and distinct role in helping SCI improve the way it serves the needs of its members. It has a number of functions which include specific responsibilities in finding out what members need, and in advising the Board of Trustees.

The MC work with the SCI Executive Team to find the best means of gathering information from members, including designing and arranging for surveys, and reviewing the results. The aim is to find ways to enhance the value of SCI membership for all of us. Where the information gathering exercise leads to particularly interesting new ideas, the group have a role in helping to develop these into concrete proposals - ultimately taking them to the Board of Trustees for consideration and adoption.

In addition, the MC have the responsibility to consider nominations for the Lampitt Medal and Distinguished Service Award, and to evaluate proposals for Honorary or Life Membership of the SCI. These activities serve to enhance the status of SCI membership in the wider scientific community.

If SCI is to thrive it needs make its influence count, deliver benefits for its members and expand its appeal as a membership organisation. The Membership Committee has been formed to help drive these essential but challenging objectives. As well as elected members, the MC has opportunities for co-options so if you think that this team is an SCI activity where you could contribute your skills, knowledge and energy, please contact the SCI Committee support.

David Witty
Chair, Membership Committee

Committee Members:

David WittyDavid Witty (Chair)
Dr Witty worked as a chemist in pharmaceutical research for some thirty years, leading teams investigating infective, metabolic and neurological diseases, creating graduate training courses and pioneering the introduction of new technologies. David is an entrepreneur and in 2010 he helped raise $35M to co-found Convergence Pharmaceuticals, where he led successful pain discovery research, manufacturing and operation activities, culminating in its acquisition by Biogen in 2015. A member of SCI since the 1990s, Dr Witty has served in all elected offices of the Fine Chemicals Group, including chair from 2013-2015.

George OkafoGeorge Okafo
George Okafo is a Senior Director and R&D Senior Fellow in the In-Silico Drug Discovery Unit at GSK. George has over 27 years in experience in Pharmaceutical R&D and holds a BSc (Joint Honours) in Chemistry and Biochemistry (1986) and PhD in Chemical Carcinogenesis (1989) from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London. George continued his research in Cancer Chemistry as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (1989) at the University of Toronto, Canada before joining SmithKline Beecham (SB) in 1990, as a Postdoctoral Fellow. At SB, George introduced and implemented various novel methodologies including Capillary Electrophoresis (CE), fluorescence detection methodology, narrow/microbore chromatography to drug discovery. George gained positions of increasing responsibility at SB and GSK including Group Leader, Project Leader for a number of late phase projects leading to MAA and NDA regulatory submissions, CMC Project Leader for the Diseases of the Developing World Portfolio, Global Scientific Due Diligence Director with experience of >40 due diligence opportunities and Consultancy Director supporting GSK’s external collaborators. George has published 47 scientific peer-reviewed papers, edited 4 books, co-inventor of 2 patents and invited speaker at numerous international scientific conferences. George current role is a Senior Director in the in-silico drug discovery unit where he is using in-silico/AI-driven methodologies to accelerate the discovery of new medicines for hard-to-treat diseases. George in an Associate Member of the Royal College of Sciences (ARCS), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), member of the Society for Chemical Industry (and formerly Chair of the Separation Sciences Committee), member of the Science and Innovation Advisory Committee for the UK BioIndustry Association (SIAC, UK BIA) and a STEM ambassador. George was appointed a GSK Senior Fellow in 2016 in recognition of his scientific excellence at GSK, internally and externally.

John HardyJohn Hardy
John Hardy is a chemist by training (enjoying internships at Bristol Colloid Centre, GSK, Syngenta and Teleflex over the course of his career) with a decade of interdisciplinary postdoctoral training overseas in France, Germany, Northern Ireland and the USA. He came home to commence his independent career as a 50th Anniversary Lecturer in Materials Chemistry at the new Department of Chemistry and Materials Science Institute at Lancaster University. His research group develop stimuli-responsive materials for medical and technical applications, and has published a variety of journal articles and patents. He serves: on the editorial board of Future Science Open Access and the International Journal of Molecular Sciences; as the Royal Society of Chemistry Lancaster & District Programme Secretary, and on the SCI Publications Advisory Committee and SCI Membership Committee.

Ray Jones
Ray Jones was Professor of Organic and Biological Chemistry at Loughborough University from 2000-2016, retiring 30 September 2016, and is now Emeritus Professor. Having studied for BA (Natural Sciences) and PhD at Cambridge University, followed by a post-doctoral period as an ICI Fellow at ETH Zurich, he was previously Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Nottingham University 1973-1995, and then Professor of Organic Chemistry and Head of Department at Open University 1995-1999. At Loughborough he was variously Head of Organic Chemistry, Deputy Head of Department, Director of Research and latterly Director of Teaching (2013-2016). He has published 135 research papers on heterocyclic and natural product chemistry, and 20 reviews or book chapters. He joined the SCI Fine Chemicals Group Committee (FCG) in 1996 and has been a member ever since. Ray has been on the organizing committees for more than 30 one-day and multi-day scientific meetings for FCG. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and was a Member of RSC Organic Division Council from 1997 until 2017, serving as a Vice-President and then two terms as President (2004-7; 2013-16). He served one term on RSC Council (2007-11) and has had various other roles with RSC. He has also been President of RSC Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group (2002-4) and organised many scientific meetings for that group. Ray was Chair of Heads of Chemistry UK (2001-3). He has acted as External Examiner in UK and internationally for undergraduate and MSc degrees at 17 universities, and for 120 PhD degrees, and has been External Panel Member for 8 department reviews.

Maryam Bayati
Maryam BayatiMaryam holds a 1st class BSc (Distinction) in Chemistry, 1st class MSc (Distinction) in Physical Chemistry from Tehran and Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran and PhD from the University of Liverpool, U.K. The focused of her thesis was on Electrocatalysis by Nanoparticles in Low Temperature Methanol and Hydrogen Fuel Cells. Maryam successfully completed two European Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) projects, including one Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) project, working with nationally and internationally recognised companies such as Solvay S.A. and Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC). She possesses more than 15 publications in high calibre peer-reviewed journals, inventor of one commercial patent and has presented at 27 national and international conferences including six talks in France, Germany, Iran, China, Japan and the U.K. The focus of her projects and her research interests have been on application of physical chemistry and nanomaterials in the health and life sciences, energy and environment sectors. This including kinetic and thermodynamic case studies, fabricating/preparing/establishing electrochemical systems, catalysis and nanomaterials for mainly applications in (bio)sensors, wastewater treatment, CO2 conversion, ammonia capture and conversion, and energy conversion and storage systems. Maryam is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), American Chemical Society (ACS) and International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE).

Alison FosterAlison Foster
After studying chemistry at both degree and PhD level and spending a total of 8 years working in different roles in the pharmaceutical Industry, her passion for plants finally got the better of her. After retraining as a horticulturist at the Birmingham Botanic Gardens, Alison joined the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, initially as a trainee. Upon completion of her trainee year, she stayed on to plan a new contemporary medicinal plants collection, about which she wrote a book – The Medicinal Plant Collection at the University of Oxford. Alison then took up the role of glasshouse horticulturist subsequently becoming Senior Curator and ultimately was Acting Director before leaving in February 2015. Alison is now focusing on using horticulture as a conduit for science communication, working until recently at RBG, Kew. Alison has been developing and curating the SCIence Garden at SCI headquarters at Belgrave Square. Alison has been a member of SCI for just over 20 years since first working in the pharmaceutical industry. She is an active member of the Horticulture Group, currently acting as Group Secretary.

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