Professor Nicola Lewis, an internationally recognised expert in influenza research and surveillance, has joined the Crick as the new director of the Worldwide Influenza Centre (WIC).
Professor Lewis joins the Crick from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) where her research focused on investigating the ecology and evolution of influenza viruses in animal hosts and the risks that these viruses might pose to the human population. She will maintain a part-time appointment in her role at the RVC, as Professor in One Health Evolutionary Biology, to carry on key aspects of this work and to achieve greater synergy between animal and human influenza surveillance.
Over the coming months, Professor Lewis will work with John McCauley, the outgoing director who has led the WIC since 2009. The formal handover of responsibilities will take place after this year’s autumnal vaccine recommendation meetings in late September.
Nicola says: “I am honoured to be appointed to the role of Director of the WIC at the Francis Crick Institute and am looking forward to building on the outstanding reputation of the WIC over many years in addressing key challenges posed by influenza for both human and animal health.”
The Worldwide Influenza Centre at the Crick plays a key role monitoring the strains of influenza virus in circulation. It is part of the World Health Organisation’s global network of affiliated laboratories and provides recommendations on which strains of flu should be included in the annual influenza vaccines.
Paul Nurse, director of the Crick, says: “Many thanks to John McCauley for his outstanding leadership over the last 13 years, a period which included the complex process of moving his laboratory from the National Institute for Medical Research into the newly built Crick.
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Nicola, who will bring valuable experience and expertise to influenza surveillance.”