TRANSVAC Scientific Advisory Committee

The TRANSVAC Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is composed of five experts external to the programme who review and advise on:

  • The scientific and technical orientation of the strategic plan.
  • The progress and results of the entire work programme of the initiative.
  • The future directions, pitfalls and novel technologies relevant to the programme.
  • Mediate any scientific disagreements that cannot be remedied by the Steering Committee.
  • Assess the milestones and deliverables reached by the consortium.
  • Advise on the development of the formal selection criteria of proposals for the use of the infrastructures offered.
  • Peer-review the scientific and experimental quality of proposals offered for training and service activities and will produce a report of their findings for consideration by the User Selection Panel (USP).


Prof Jonathan Luke Heeney (Chair)

University of Cambridge

Prof Jonathan Luke Heeney is Professor of Comparative Pathology at the University of Cambridge. His work bridges both Veterinary and Human medicine, infectious diseases and oncology. He has over 20 years of experience working with both academia and industry to navigate vaccine candidates through preclinical development to clinical trial. His laboratory studies cross-species transmissions of viral diseases and the mechanisms of immunity in new and established hosts; his team has developed new technologies for the detection and monitoring of viruses, and the characterization of new and novel pathogens. Jonathan Heeney has made key contributions to AIDS vaccine development including defining the central role of T-helper responses in vaccine induced immunity, in demonstrating viral vaccine protection from cell-associated challenge and the role of chemokine responses in protective immunity. He has a comparative approach to vaccine development with the establishment of clinically definable endpoints early in the preclinical evaluation process. Jonathan Heeney pioneered the use of immune correlates in rational vaccine development and is the founder of an international series of meetings on correlates of protective immunity to HIV/AIDS. Read more

Dr Allan Saul (Vice Chair)

Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health

Allan Saul was appointed to head the newly created Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health (NVGH) in September 2007. He currently oversees programs to develop vaccines for Salmonella and Shigella.  Prior to joining NVGH, Dr Saul has a long-standing experience in the development and testing of experimental malaria vaccines at the National Institutes of Health (USA) and at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (Brisbane, Australia). As part of that program he has had extensive experience with taking new adjuvants into human trials.

Dr Barry Walker

Aeras, Preclinical Development 

Dr. Barry Walker is Senior Director, Preclinical Development at Aeras, based in Rockville, Maryland, USA with offices in Cape Town, South Africa. He is responsible for the management of the portfolio of preclinical and translational tuberculosis vaccine candidates being developed both internally by Aeras and in close collaboration with partners worldwide. He has maintained an active research interest in tuberculosis and the immunology of vaccines against poverty related diseases, including HIV and malaria. Dr. Walker trained in immunology at the University of Western Australia, and completed his PhD in the immunology of renal transplantation. Subsequently he moved to the UK, to the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, where his interest in mycobacterial infection and vaccinology was fostered. After a period at the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, he moved to a PI and Group Leader position at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), where he continued his involvement in tuberculosis, HIV and malaria and also obtained extensive experience in regulatory aspects of vaccine development and the critical parameters for success of preclinical to clinical development. In 2012 he moved to his current position at Aeras, a non-profit product development partnership with the mission to develop safe and effective tuberculosis vaccines and make them available to those who need them most in developing countries.

Prof Samuel J. McConkey

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Samuel J. McConkey is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He is also a Consultant at several Irish hospitals, as well as to Irish Aid, and is a member of the Technical Advisory Group to the Taoiseach’s Initiative on HIV/AIDS and Communicable Diseases. He is a board member of the national regulatory for medical and social care in Ireland, Health Information & Quality Authority (HIQA). Professor McConkey is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London as well as a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. His main research Interests lie in the prevention and control of the infectious diseases of relevance for resource-poor countries, including developing and evaluating new vaccines, studies of acquired immunity and molecular pathogenesis, and anthropological and political science studies of drivers and consequences of stigma. He also works in the area of promoting and evaluating the use of data-based scientific evidence in public policy, for example in malaria control or migrant health.