Advisory Council

GeneWatch UK's Advisory Council was set up in 2019. The members are:

Arnaud Apoteker

Arnaud Apoteker has worked with Greenpeace France for 20 years and has participated in numerous campaigns: on pesticides, protection of the Mediterranean Sea, ocean ecology, whaling, fisheries, forests, nuclear waste and nuclear testing. In 1996, he developed the GMO campaign in France, which became one of the top priority campaigns of Greenpeace France. He wrote the book "Du poisson dans les fraises, Notre alimentation manipule," (Fish in the Strawberries: Our Manipulated Food) in 1999. From 2011 to 2015, he was the advisor on GMO issues for the Greens/EFA group at the European Parliament. Then, he coordinated the International Monsanto tribunal, a citizens tribunal that was held in The Hague in October 2016 and April 2017 and which examined whether Monsanto activities infringed on basic human rights as defined in the international UN treaties and if it could be responsible for the crime of ecocide, if the latter was recognized by the International Court of Justice. Since 2017, he is running Justice Pesticides, a small international NGO that collects and shares all legal cases related to pesticides in the world in order to help victims of pesticides to get compensation for the damage they suffer and to help generating new cases that will force companies to stop their polluting activities.

Irina Castro

Irina Castro graduated in Applied Ecology in 2009 and received her MSc in Environmental Engineering in 2011. In the same year she joined the Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra, where she currently is a junior researcher. At CES, she has collaborated with a diversity of research projects on sociology of science, social studies of science and technology, science communication and political ecology. She currently holds a PhD scholarship from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Her PhD studies and research started in 2013 at the doctoral programme Governance, Knowledge and Innovation (sociology branch), at the Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, where she develops a thesis that brings together perspectives from political economy, sociology of the sciences and the new feminist materialism, to approach scientific controversies regarding genetic engineering. She is also engaged with several social movements on women rights and feminism, anti-racism and LGBTQI+ rights. She is also a member of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).

Ignacio Chapela

Ignacio Chapela is Associate Professor of Microbial Ecology at the University of California, Berkeley.

He has applied his training as an ecologist and a mycologist to the study of symbioses in forest ecosystems in temperate and tropical environments, the natural history of secondary metabolites and natural products, and the role of microbes in large-scale cycling.

He has pursued this research while accompanying the emergence, through the turn of the Century, of Biology as a dominant force in economic, political and cultural terms. Working in very diverse institutional settings from the local, indigenous community-, industrial-, national-, trans-national and multilateral scales in various countries, he has provided critical insight into questions of governance and sovereignty over genetic resources, the dynamics of genetic contamination and the ecology of gene-flow into wild and domesticated populations.

His involvement with a coalition of indigenous communities in Southern Mexico led to the first discovery and description of unintended large-scale movement of transgenic materials, which opened the evidence-based discussion over control and reliability of biotech interventions in the environment. He has been a member of many advisory and policy-making bodies, such as the US National Academy of Sciences' committee on the environmental impact of the release of transgenic crops. His current work focuses on enabling field-based detection, monitoring and mapping of microbial materials, including those resulting from genetic engineering, through the use of distributive, decentralized strategies. This has led to the development of novel methods, strategies and instrumentation for decentralized use in remote field situations, under direct control of local communities. He currently works on the socialization of these methods and strategies in various countries, including Mexico, South Africa, Switzerland and Spain.

Janet Cotter

Dr. Janet Cotter is a freelancer (under the name of Logos Environmental) providing scientific advice, research and reports for environmental NGOs. Specialist areas include GMOs, including genome-editing and synthetic biology, forests and bioenergy. Previously, she was a Senior Scientist for Greenpeace International for 15 years (2000-2015), focussing on Greenpeace's forests and agriculture campaigns, and has co-authored over 40 scientific reports for Greenpeace. Academic experience covers a PhD (1991), UK NERC postdoctoral fellowship (1992-1995) and a lectureship in Plant and Soil Science at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1995-2000). She is also Chair of Trustees at Moor Trees, a Devon (UK)-based tree planting charity.

Doug Gurian-Sherman

Doug Gurian-Sherman is a plant pathologist whose work emphasizes the importance of agroecological farming systems to address the challenges of growing food that enhances and relies on biological diversity, builds resilience, is good for the environment, and promotes food justice and democracy. His work analyses and compares the functions and interrelationships between agroecological approaches to agriculture in contrast to industrial systems and technologies. His analysis recognizes the fundamental social and political context that inevitably shapes the value of technologies to society. This perspective rests on the importance of farming methods and technologies as parts of social systems, as well as based on their physical risks and benefits.

Dr. Gurian-Sherman is currently a consultant on agriculture with Strategic Expansion and Training, LLC, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has recently advised civil society coalitions and organizations in the U.S. and Europe on issues of climate change and agriculture, pesticide alternatives, and genetic engineering. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow with the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University. Prior to his current position, he worked as a senior scientist for nearly two decades with U.S. NGOs including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Food Safety. He was a staff scientist working on pesticides and genetic engineering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the 1990s. He collaborates closely with several science-based organizations including Twin Cities Science for the People.

He holds doctorate and master of science degrees in plant pathology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor of science in natural resources from the University of Michigan. Recent work includes co-authorship of a proposed platform for food and agriculture in the Green New Deal and critiques of pro-GMO documentary film "Food Evolution".

Elonnai Hickok

Elonnai Hickok is the former Chief Operating Officer at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS). Elonnai has graduated from the University of Toronto where she studied international development and political science. Elonnai leads the privacy, surveillance, and big data work at the Centre and has also written extensively on issues pertaining to intermediary liability, digital rights, identity, cyber security and DNA profiling. Elonnai has also worked as a consultant with the Open Society Foundations and with the Ranking Digital Rights project. She is also co-chair of the Labor and Economy Working Group at the Partnership on AI and a member of the Freedom Online Advisory Network.

Stuart Hogarth

Stuart Hogarth is a Lecturer in Sociology of Science and Technology. His work focuses on biomedical innovation and his research has investigated a diverse range of emergent biotechnologies, such as stem cell therapies and synthetic biology. His primary interest is the impact of genomic science on the diagnostics sector, and he has published extensively on the political economy of diagnostic innovation, with a particular focus on regulatory governance and intellectual property rights.

Stuart's work combines empirical research with normative analysis of public policy and commercial strategy. He has produced policy reports for the European Commission and Health Canada, and in the UK Human Genetics Commission. He was a member of the Department of Health's Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee from 2012-14, and currently serves on an external strategy group advising the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency's on the revision of the EU regulations for diagnostic devices.

Nina Holland

Nina Holland holds a master's degree in Environmental Sciences from Utrecht University with a final thesis on the EU life patents directive. She works with Corporate Europe Observatory, a research and campaign group based in Brussels that aims to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making. CEO aims to curb the political clout enjoyed by corporations by revealing their tactics, financial firepower, privileged access and connections, exposing revolving door scandals and the common dominance of corporate interests in European Commission advisory groups, and by campaigning for stricter EU lobby regulation and against policies skewed in favour of corporate interests. Nina's focus is on lobbying by agribusiness and food industries covering issues like pesticides, food labeling and GMOs. She is currently on the advisory boards of two EU-funded research projects: the Big Picnic (on the role of biodiversity in food) and RECIPES (on the precautionary principle and innovation). She is also involved with in various initiatives at local level on sustainable and just food systems and air quality.

Carly Kind

Carly Kind is a human rights lawyer and independent consultant working in the field of technology and human rights. Carly advises NGOs, UN agencies, and companies on the human rights implications and challenges of technology policy, from data protection, to internet regulation, to AI. Carly's clients have included the European Commission, UNHCR, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, UNICEF, the Council of Europe, Google and Mozilla. Previously, Carly was the Legal Director of UK NGO Privacy International.

Tamara Lebrecht

Tamara Lebrecht is based in Berne, Switzerland where she leads the Swiss association Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS). She was Senior Researcher at GeneWatch UK until end 2021, leaving to pursue a PhD in agroecology, studying the potential of the neglected and underutilised crop species grass pea (Lathyrus sativus) for Swiss agriculture. Before joining GeneWatch UK in 2014, she worked at the Swiss not-for profit organisation Public Eye (then Berne Declaration) with a focus on agriculture, intellectual property and biodiversity and as a scientific assistant at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. She completed her Master of Science in Ecology and Evolution in 2012 at the ETH in Zurich with a thesis on synergistic effects of Cry toxins on the ladybeetle Adalia bipunctata.

Yves Moreau

Yves Moreau is a Professor of Engineering at the University of Leuven, Belgium. He carries out research on artificial intelligence for genome analysis in rare genetic disorders. In particular, he develops technical approaches to genomic privacy, such as privacy-preserving algorithms for the analysis of personal genomes. Moreover, he has been denouncing human rights abuses involving DNA fingerprinting technology. He was involved in successfully calling for the repeal of a law mandating DNA fingerprinting of the entire population of Kuwait. He has been pushing back against mass DNA surveillance in China. In particular, he has been calling for increased attention to the role technology often plays in large-scale human rights abuses and for the fact that reckless supply of technology by major corporations can amount to aiding and abetting such abuses. Public outcry about mass DNA surveillance in China moved the major supplier of DNA fingerprinting technology to announce that it would stop sales of its human identification solutions in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, where this technology has been a key element in the harsh repression of minorities.

Nick Palmer

Dr Nick Palmer is Head of Compassion in World Farming UK. He previously worked in a similar capacity with Cruelty Free International, after serving as MP for Broxtowe from 1997 to 2010. His Parliamentary career included a period as Parliamentary Private Secretary for DEFRA, as well as membership of the Treasury, European Affairs and Justice Select Committees. He has a PhD in mathematics and previously worked in senior IT management in the pharmaceutical industry for the Swiss multinational company Novartis. He speaks six languages.

Christof Potthof

Christof Potthof is staff member of the Berlin (Germany) based non governmental organisation Gen-ethical Network (Gen-ethisches Netzwerk e.V., GeN). GeN is working on a broad range of biotechnology issues (in Agriculture and Medicine). Starting at GeN's office in 2002 Christof had covered different responsibilities with respect to genetic engineering in agriculture and food production, and Synthetic Biology. Over the last years one of his important issues was the politic of new genetic engineering techniques. Christof is one of the editors of GeN's journal GID (in German). He has a German diploma in biology.

Milton Reynolds

Milton Reynolds is nationally recognized for his expertise in equity, inclusion, diversity, and communication. He is a strategic thinker, thought leader, and community activist who works with non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and organizations to promote change, critical thinking, and improve the lives of others.

Milton was a Senior Program Associate at Facing History and Ourselves, an organization with a global footprint and staff members in nine locations from Chicago, Cleveland, and Memphis - to London, Los Angeles, New England, New York, Toronto, and the San Francisco Bay Area, in addition to education partnerships around the world, including China, France, Northern Ireland, and South Africa.

He was also a Research Associate at Stanford University's Center for Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (Stanford Integrated Schools Project) where he participated in research data collection, teacher observations, and integrated organizational best practices for work with educators.

Milton has been a member of multiple Commissions and Associations, including Literacy for Environmental Justice (past Board Chairman); the Racial Justice Coalition, ACLU; San Mateo County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission; the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, San Francisco State University; and Communication Arts and Sciences, Berkeley High School (Advisory Board Member); the California Council for the Social Studies (Board of Directors).

Pete Shanks

Pete Shanks was born in the British Empire, then privately educated in English boarding schools from 7 to 17. This left him with excellent Latin, a solid foundation in Greek and fair Mathematics, and slid him into Oxford to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He rather enjoyed the work, but abhorred the social surroundings and therefore took his degree but promptly sabotaged (partly consciously) his access to the British élite.

After bumming around the world awhile, he happened to visit Santa Cruz, California in 1974 and decided that this was a place he could live. With notably rare exceptions, he has done so ever since. For a long time he thought this removed him from any serious political contribution, and eventually found a congenial niche in the typesetting industry, which was undergoing the technological transition to digital and demanded quality control to maintain the integrity of the craft. Or at least to try so to do. Meanwhile he wrote fiction (never published) and poetry (occasionally published), and eased back into anti-war activities in the 1990s.

In 2000 he attended a presentation by Rich Hayes and Marcy Darnovsky about the techno-eugenic prospects of human genetic engineering. This horrified and fascinated him. He quickly devoured their reading list, and once they had founded the Center for Genetics and Society (CGS) started working with them as a consultant. He published a book on the subject in 2005, which was intended as a primer for the mass uprising against the abuse of such technology. (In his wildest dreams, he saw it as the loose string that when pulled might unravel modern capitalism.) Clearly this was at best premature, but he doesn't apologize for an excess of idealism once in a while.

He continues performing quality control on textbooks (often about introductory biology), and working with CGS, for whom he primarily does editing, writing and research. He walks a lot, occasionally falling down but always getting up again, and enjoys camping and the great outdoors in general.

Andy Stirling

Andy Stirling is a Professor at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. A fellow of the UK Academy of Social Science and co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre (on 'pathways to sustainability'), he has served on many boards and expert advisory committees for the European Union, UK and other countries, and for a number of NGOs and firms. Looking especially at nuclear, military, biotech, agrifood and chemicals sectors, his research tries to tackle dilemmas arising in the ways power works inside and around science and innovation. Specific interests include issues like: uncertainty, precaution, resilience, diversity, participation, democracy - and transformations to more equal and sustainable societies.

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