Headshot of Dr Maria Whitehead

Dr Maria Whitehead

Director of Research 

Maria leads the scientific strategy of the Foundation. She is responsible for setting research objectives, evaluating fresh leads and commercial partners, and engaging with stakeholders within the academic, clinical and patient communities.

Maria has over ten years of research experience in the field of PI3K/PTEN signalling. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at University College London in the research group of Prof Bart Vanhaesebroeck, a world leader in PI3K who discovered the PI3Kdelta isoform, the targeting of which has been successfully translated into an approved therapy for blood cancers. Maria’s research was focused on understanding the molecular mechanism of action of PI3Ks and their role in regulating health and disease. In addition to her own research, Maria played a key part in shaping the scientific strategy of the group by coordinating and critically evaluating research projects. 

Maria holds a PhD in Molecular Medicine from Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, and an MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Ask me about: our scientifc strategy, drug repositioning, clinical trials, partnerships


Headshot of Siobhain McCullagh

Siobhain McCullagh

Director of Programme Management

Siobhain provides strategic leadership for the Foundation. She is responsible for the day-to-day management of the charity and works closely with scientists to develop programmes and partnerships.

Her career started at Accenture 20 years ago, where she provided business strategy and change management advice to private and public sector clients. Over the past ten years, Siobhain has worked on large scale international development projects focused on helping the world’s most vulnerable people. Most recently she served as Project Director for the world’s largest infectious disease survey to identify trachoma endemic-areas in 29 countries using Android smartphones. The £17 million programme was supported by the UK Department for International Development with co-funding from USAID.  

Siobhain holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Durham.

Ask me about: our governance, strategy, programmes 

Headshot of Frank Roche

Dr Frank Roche

Scientific Research Manager 

Frank’s role involves analysing current research and engaging with the academic, clinical and scientific communities to inform and support the Foundation’s scientific goals. He also coordinates the grant funding review and appraisal process. 

Frank has over ten years experience in the field of pre-clinical research that has focused on developing novel therapies to treat disease. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was a senior postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Prof Lena Claesson Welsh at Uppsala University, Sweden. Frank’s research has included viral vector-mediated gene therapy, cancer immunotherapy, drug discovery, basic and developmental vascular biology, and basic molecular and cellular research. 

Frank worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA. He holds a PhD in Gene Therapy of Cancer from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and a BSc in Biotechnology from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Ask me about: our granting process, research projects, registries and biobanks, pre-clinical research

Headshot of Lizzie Stephens

Lizzie Stephens

Communications Executive

Lizzie is responsible for developing and implementing the Foundation’s strategic messaging and communications, with the aim of increasing awareness of PHTS. Her role involves managing the Foundation’s website and social media channels, assisting with content and design for communications materials across print and web, and coordinating meetings and events. 

Lizzie holds an MA with distinction from King’s College London and a first-class degree in English and Related Literature from the University of York, United Kingdom.

Ask me about: our website, social media, newsletter