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Who we are

Who we are - surgeon wearing virtual reality headsetThe Commission is chaired by Richard Kerr, consultant neurosurgeon and RCS Council member, and is formed by 12 commissioners with different areas of expertise, including:

  • robotics
  • genetics
  • transplantation
  • surgical innovation
  • epidemiology
  • artificial intelligence
  • 3D printing and planning
  • and pharmacology.

Richard Kerr BSc, MBBS, MS, FRCS - Chair of the Commission

Richard Kerr

Richard Kerr qualified from The London Hospital, and trained in surgery and neurosurgery in London, Northampton, Oxford and Melbourne. Based at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, he has been a consultant for 24 years. With a wide cranial and spinal practice, he has subspecialty interests in skull base tumours, oncology and vascular disease. He devised and runs the Oxford Skull Base Practice and is a member of the NFII clinic, a nationally co-ordinated regional service. Research has led to publication of more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and 15 book chapters.

He was Co-Principal Investigator in the MRC-funded International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial (ISAT). The publication of this trial has led to a global change in the management of aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage, with invitations to speak to learned societies from all over the world. Active in management, and a recently trained civil and commercial mediator, he has been Lead Clinician of the Neurosurgical Department, Clinical Centre Chairman of the Radcliffe Infirmary and Chairman of the Relocation Steering Committee of Services to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Elected to the Council of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons (SBNS) in 2003, he was appointed Treasurer of the SBNS in 2010 and Member of the Neurosurgical SAC in 2011, later serving as President of the SBNS between 2014 and 2016. With interests in co-operation between the specialist surgical associations, audit and surgical outcome data, he was elected to the Council of The Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2013.

Nick Black - Professor of Health Services Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Nick BlackNick Black's main research interests are methods of assessing the quality of care (particularly surgery and dementia care), patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), the relationship between research and policy, and the history of health services.

He co-edits the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, was founding Chair of the UK Health Services Research Network, and in 2006 published Walking London’s medical history to raise public understanding of health services and healthcare policy through seven walks through London.

Since 2007, he has advised the Department of Health and NHS England on quality assessment including avoidable hospital deaths, PROMs and national clinical audits and enquiries. In 2013 he was the first recipient of an international Career Achievement Award for work on PROMs by the Medical Outcomes Trust, USA and in 2017 was knighted for services to health care research.

Will Cavendish

Will Cavendish

From October 2016 to September 2017, Will Cavendish was Strategy Lead for the Applied side of DeepMind, the world-leading AI company. In this role he was responsible for helping take the incredible breakthroughs in AI coming from DeepMind’s research, and applying them to solve major social problems in the world.

Before joining DeepMind, he was a Director General in the UK government. Between 2014 and 2016, he was Director General of Innovation, Growth and Technology in the Department of Health, responsible for overseeing the delivery of technology and digital programmes to transform the NHS; for the effective and innovative use of medicines, devices and pharmacy; for promoting growth, jobs and exports in the digital, genomics and pharma sectors; and for ensuring the secure and effective use of data in the health and care system. From 2011 to 2014 he ran the Implementation Group in the Cabinet Office, working directly to the then-PM and DPM, and responsible for ensuring the government’s top domestic policy priorities were driven forward effectively.

As a senior civil servant in the UK government, he led a series of breakthrough projects – driving the start of the mass take-up of online booking and prescription services in the NHS, negotiating landmark deals that made new drugs and vaccines available to NHS patients for the first time, and co-creating Change4Life, the acclaimed social movement tackling obesity and physical inactivity. He led the creation of the world's first network of What Works Centres, set up to provide hard evidence on effective uses of public money, and pioneered the use of transparency and crowdsourcing in policy making with initiatives such as MyNHS and the Red Tape Challenge.

He has held other senior posts in education and public health, and has had a distinguished career as an economist, working for the World Bank and a number of other international agencies.

Sue Clark MA MB BChir MD FRCS(Gen Surg) EBSQ (Coloproctology)

Sue Clark

Sue Clark trained at the University of Cambridge, St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School and in the South West Thames Region, as well as undertaking a period of full-time research as an Imperial Cancer Research Fund fellow. She is a consultant colorectal surgeon at St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow, UK and Adjunct Professor of Surgery at Imperial College, London. Additional roles include Director of the St Mark's Hospital Polyposis Registry, Administrative Officer of the International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours and Dean of the St Mark's Academic Institute.

Her main clinical and research interests are colorectal cancer genetics, polyposis syndromes, colorectal cancer biology and ileoanal pouch dysfunction. 

Rajesh Chopra - Director of Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit, Head Division of Cancer Therapeutics, The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Professor Rajesh Chopra

Raj Chopra trained in Medicine at University College London. He then completed his training in general medicine at major teaching hospitals in London, gaining membership of the Royal College of Physicians. He undertook a PhD in cell signalling and growth receptors followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Waller Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, where he worked for Professor D Metcalf who was the first to culture human hematopoietic stem cells and discover both G and GM-CSF.

Subsequently, he set up his own research group in Stem Cell and Leukemia Biology at the Paterson Institute of Cancer Research. At the same time he was appointed Director of Hematological Oncology, leading one of the largest Bone Marrow Transplant and Leukemia Programmes in Europe at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. From 2004 to 2009, he was part of the leadership team for the largest oncology group in AstraZeneca and established Translational Medicine for AstraZeneca in Boston, MA. He was involved in taking six small molecules and two antibodies from discovery into clinical trials. From 2009 to 2016 he was leader of the Executive R&D Team and Corporate Vice President of Translational and Early Drug Development at Celgene Corporation, Summit, NJ, where he led a team of more than 100 scientists in San Diego, San Francisco and Seville, and a team of clinicians involved in taking agents from discovery to proof-of-concept clinical trials in oncology and immune/inflammatory disease, as well as stem cell therapies. These teams were responsible for taking nine small molecule and one antibody projects into early clinical trials in healthy volunteers and patients

He has been a member of the MRC Molecular and Cell Biology Board and the MRC Stem Cell Committee. He has extensive experience of successful partnering with biotech. In addition, he has been a Non-Executive Director for e-Therapeutics (Oxford) and has been on the board of Agios (Boston, MA).

In January 2016, he moved back to the UK to take up the position as Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit and Head of the Division of Cancer Therapeutics. He is currently a member of the CRUK Drug Discovery Committee and of the Scientific Board of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), Scientific Advisory Board of Pancreatic Cancer UK and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity Research Assessment Panel (RAP).

Gill Gaskin - Medical Director, Specialist Hospital Board, UCLH

Dr Gill Gaskin

Gill Gaskin graduated from Cambridge and trained in renal and general medicine at Hammersmith Hospital and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, completing a PhD on the biology of systemic vasculitis.

Between 1995 and 2010, she held consultant-level posts at Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospitals and Imperial College Healthcare Trusts, with additional responsibilities as Director of Postgraduate Medical Education and Professional Development, Clinical Director and latterly Director for the Medicine Clinical Programme Group.

She is a member of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.

Nadine Hachach-Haram

Nadine Hachach HaramNadine Hachach-Haram is a Plastic Surgery Registrar, honorary lecturer and clinical entrepreneur. She received her BSc from University College London receiving the Jack Drummond and Jackson Lewis prizes, for top marks in the Faculty and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and securing a Nuffield Grant for research. She began her medical career in earnest in 2004, enrolling in the accelerated graduate entry program at Barts and the London, where she graduated in 2009, with distinction, and earned the Harvey Minasian Prize for academic excellence.

She has been appointed as an NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow, Council member of BAPRAS Innovation UK, a UCL Honorary Clinical Lecturer, SAC Plastic Surgery Simulation task force, President of BFIRST trainee members, and council member of the Royal Society of Medicine, plastic surgery section.

She co-founded Proximie in 2014, a device agnostic augmented reality platform that allows doctors to virtually transport themselves in to any operating room to guide, teach, train and support other surgeons and medical experts. Proximie has enjoyed significant success with early adoption by major medical institutions and NGOs and has been dubbed by CNN as the "Future of Surgery" and won multiple awards including Foreign Press Association Science Story of the Year.

Ros Levenson

Ros Levenson

Ros Levenson has been a member of the Royal College of Surgeons Patient and Lay Group (PLG) since February 2016 and became Chair of the PLG in July 2016.

After taking a degree in political theory and institutions and a postgraduate diploma in applied social studies, her early career was in social work and social services training and development. She then became Director of the Greater London of Community Health Councils for several years, after which she became an independent researcher and policy consultant. For the past 20 years she has worked on health and social care topics for a range of statutory and voluntary organisations and she has published widely in these areas, particularly on patient experience, patient and public involvement, medical professionalism, NHS workforce issues, old age, age discrimination and long-term conditions.

She has also held a number of public appointments, including:

  • Appointed member of the Architects Registration Board since 2013 (continuing)
  • Non-executive director of the NHS Litigation Authority (2013–2016)
  • Member of the National Research Ethics Advisors Panel (part of the Health Research Authority) (2012–2016)
  • Member of General Medical Council; Chair of the GMC’s Standards and Ethics committee and member of postgraduate education board (2009–2012)
  • Lay member of the National Commissioning Group (2007–2010)
  • Member of the Ethics and Confidentiality Committee (formerly the Patient Information Advisory Group) (2005–2010)
  • Non-executive director of an NHS trust (1997–2007) and deputy chair (2001–2007)
  • Lay member of the Health Professions Council (HPC – now HCPC) (2004–2006)

Lorna Marson FRCS(Engl/Ed) FRCP(Ed)

Lorna Marson

Lorna Marson is a reader in transplant surgery at the University of Edinburgh, and honorary consultant surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. She is clinical lead for renal transplantation in Edinburgh, and led the development of antibody incompatible transplantation in the region. She held a Clinician Scientist Award from the Academy of Medical Sciences/ Health Foundation from 2003 to 2008, and continues to work in clinically relevant research in renal transplantation, with translation of a novel agent from bench to bedside.

She is President of the British Transplantation Society, and was Associate Postgraduate Dean for Surgery in South East Scotland until August 2017. She is a council member on the Society for Academic and Research Surgery.

Dion Morton MD FRCS

Professor Dion Morton

Dion Morton is Barling Professor of Surgery and Head of the Academic Department of Surgery at the University of Birmingham. He was given an honorary consultant appointment at the University Hospital Birmingham in 1996, and was appointed Barling Professor of Surgery in 2015. He is also Deputy Head at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at University of Birmingham.

He is Director of the West Midlands Genomics Medicine Centre and Director of Clinical Research at the Royal College of Surgeons of England as well as Director of the Birmingham Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, co-Director of the NIHR Global Surgery Unit Birmingham and Research Committee Chair for the European Society of Coloproctology.

His primary research interests are in clinical and translational research for colorectal cancer and the development of clinical trials in surgery. 

Liam O’Toole - Chief Executive Officer Arthritis Research UK

Liam O’TooleArthritis Research UK merged with Arthritis Care on 1st November 2017. Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care have a shared ambition to support people with arthritis to live full and active lives. The unmet need of people with arthritis is substantial and by coming together, we will have a greater impact on the 10 million people currently living with the condition. Liam will be chief executive officer of the new organisation.

Liam has led Arthritis Research UK since 2009. Under Liam’s leadership the organisation has undergone transformational change and emerged as a modern, third sector organisation with the needs of people with arthritis central to everything it does. The merger will allow continued investment in breakthrough treatments plus the best information and support to help people push back the pain, isolation and fatigue of arthritis.

Before joining Arthritis Research UK, Liam played a leading role in many of the major changes that have taken place in the UK’s health and medical research landscape over the last decade. Between January 2007 and November 2009 he was head of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research (OSCHR), a joint office funded by the Department of Health and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, set up to develop a more coherent strategic approach to publicly funded health research. Before his role with OSCHR Liam spent three years as chief executive of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration and was the first administrative director of the National Cancer Research Institute following 16 years’ experience of research management at the Medical Research Council and the British Diabetic Association (now Diabetes UK).

Adrian Sugar FDSRCS(Eng/Ed) FDSRCPS MDhc Hon Fellow Cardiff Met Univ

Adrian SugarAdrian Sugar trained in Leeds, Teesside, Manchester, South Wales, Washington DC, Basel, Arnhem and Lucknow. He took up a consultant surgeon post in Chepstow in 1985 in the Welsh Centre for Burns, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery transferring with that unit to Morriston Hospital in Swansea where he has been a consultant cleft and maxillofacial surgeon and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at Swansea University Medical School.

His main interests have been in Cleft and Craniofacial Deformity and Trauma. For the past 11 years he has been clinical director of the Wales Centre for Cleft Lip and Palate. He has a major interest in 3D imaging and planning for facial reconstruction and remains Chair of the Centre for Applied Reconstructive Technologies in Surgery (CARTIS), a collaboration between Morriston Hospital and the design engineers at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

He chaired NHS England’s Clinical Reference Group for Cleft Lip and Palate from its inception and the UK Cleft Development Group for six years. He is an elected trustee of the AO Foundation having sat on its Academic Council, the International Board for Craniomaxillofacial (CMF) surgery, and chaired AO’s international research fund for all specialties and its research committee for CMF surgery. He has been President of the Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland and is now an honorary fellow for life. He has been training programme director for OMFS in Wales and chair of its specialty training committee. He has chaired his health board’s paediatric surgery committee and Morriston Hospital’s Medical Staff. He has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in the literature as well as 10 book chapters and 170 lectures by invitation. He has been awarded the international Tjellstrom Award for excellence in rehabilitation of the head and neck and the Down Surgical Prize of the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He is now an honorary consultant at Morriston Hospital.


Guang-Zhong Yang Guang-Zhong Yang is director and co-founder of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery. The Hamlyn Centrewas established to develop safe, effective and accessible imaging, sensing and robotics technologies that can reshape the future of healthcare for both developing and developed countries. Focusing on technological innovation but with a strong emphasis on clinical translation and direct patient benefit with a global impact, the centre is at the forefront of research in imaging, sensing and robotics for addressing global health challenges associated with demographic, environment, social and economic changes.

His main research interests are in medical imaging, sensing and robotics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, fellow of IEEE, IET, AIMBE and a recipient of the Royal Society Research Merit Award and listed in The Times Eureka ‘Top 100’ in British Science. He is the founding editor of Science Robotics – a journal of the Science family dedicated to the latest advances in robotics and how it enables or underpins new scientific discoveries. He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours List for his work in biomedical engineering.

Tony Young PhD FRCS(Urol)

Tony Young- National Clinical Lead for Innovation NHS England
- Consultant Urological Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Innovation Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Innovation Lead Essex Success Regime/STP
- President Institute of Decontamination Sciences
- Director of Medical Innovation, Anglia Ruskin University

Tony Young is a practising frontline NHS surgeon, Director of Medical Innovation at Anglia Ruskin University, and has founded four med-tech start-ups. He has also co-founded the £500m Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus which is set to become one of the world’s largest health innovation spaces.

In 2014 he was appointed as National Clinical Director for Innovation at NHS England and in February 2016 became the first National Clinical Lead for Innovation. In this role he provides clinical leadership and support in delivering improved health outcomes in England and drives the uptake of proven innovations across the NHS, promotes economic growth through innovation and helps make the NHS the go-to place on the planet for medical innovation. In 2015, he founded the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur programme. This has become the world’s largest entrepreneurial workforce development programme for clinicians.

A working group of members of the RCS Council advise the Commission. The group will evaluate the impact of the Commission’s findings on the work of the College and will consider how to take such findings forward within the RCS and across its activities.

Shafi Ahmed MBBS, PhD, FRCS, FRCS(Gen.Surg)

Shafi Ahmed

Shafi Ahmed was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh and came to the UK in 1973. He qualified from Kings College Hospital in 1993 and trained in Laparoscopic and Colorectal surgery in London. He completed his FRCS in 1997 and PhD in 2010 in colorectal cancer. He was appointed as a Consultant to The Royal London and St Bartholomew’s hospitals in 2007. He is the colorectal cancer lead for Barts Health and Director for Surgical Training.

His main interests are pelvic cancer, reconstruction, extreme sphincter preservation and minimally invasive surgery. He is a surgical tutor and has been the Training Programme Director for UCLP for core surgical trainees in London. He is the Associate Dean for undergraduate medical students and head of surgery for Barts and the London Medical School and his interests are the use of simulation and developing new technologies to improve surgical training. He was appointed to the RCS Council in 2014 and currently serves as its youngest member. He sits on the following committees: Education, Dental and Surgical Examinations, Opportunities in Surgery, Medical Students. He is an examiner for the MRCS at the College and is an international convenor.

Tim Briggs MBBS (Hons), MD(Res), MCh(Orth), FRCS(Ed), FRCS(Eng)

Tim Briggs

Professor Briggs is Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust and was Medical Director until May 2012, achieving a new build which has just started. He qualified in 1982 obtaining Honours in Surgery and a number of prizes. He was appointed at the RNOH as a Consultant in 1992. He is on the editorial board of the Bone and Joint Journal, and Journal of Arthroplasty. His special interests are reconstruction of the lower limb, as well as sports injuries of the knee and orthopaedic oncology. He has a special interest in autologous chondrocyte transplantation around the knee and is one of the clinical leaders in this field in the UK. He has an interest in sports injuries, and was previously one of the surgeons for the Arsenal men’s and Arsenal lady’s football clubs. He has a strong academic interest and publishes widely.

He has recently been appointed Vice-President of the British Orthopaedic Association and was President for the year 2013-2014. He is also Chairman of the Federation of Specialist Hospitals and Chairman of the National Clinical Reference Group for Specialist Orthopaedics. He is also author of Getting it right first time – a report on improving orthopaedic care in the NHS in England, which has recently been published and endorsed by the government and NHS England. Over the next 12 months he will be visiting all 145 orthopaedic trusts in England to improve outcomes and maintain quality of care for patients.

Vittoria Bucknall

Victoria Bucknall

Miss Bucknall is the President of the British Orthopaedic Trainees Association (BOTA) and a specialist registrar in trauma and orthopaedic surgery in the south east of Scotland. She represents UK orthopaedic trainees at a national level at the British Orthopaedic Association and the Intercollegiate Royal Colleges of Surgeons in addition to other key training boards.

Gemma Humm BSc (Hons) MBChB MRCS AFHEA

gemma humm

Gemma is ASiT President following a two-year tenure as ASiT Honorary Secretary and prior to that ASiT Eastern Regional Representative. Gemma graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2007, and the University of Birmingham in 2012. Gemma is a General Surgery Specialist Trainee in KSS, following training in both the East of England and Mersey. Gemma will move OOP to undertake a PhD in Surgical Technology at UCL later in 2018. Gemma understands that surgical trainees are the future of surgery and is committed to representing trainee opinion in the future of surgery to the Commission.

Timothy A Rockall MB FRCS MD

Timothy Rockall

Tim Rockall qualified in Medicine at Guys Hospital London in 1988. He undertook a period of research at The Royal College of Surgeons of England and trained predominantly in the North West Thames region. He was appointed Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London in the department of Surgical Technology and Oncology and Honorary Consultant at St. Mary's Hospital in 2000 and then Consultant Surgeon at The Royal Surrey County Hospital Guildford in 2003. He was appointed Professor of Surgery at Surrey University in 2004.

He specialises in laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgery and has a particular interest and expertise in laparoscopic colorectal surgery. He has held the position of Director of the Minimal Access Therapy Unit (mattu) in Guildford since 2003 and also has an active research programme within the fields of minimally invasive surgery, new technology and enhanced recovery after surgery. He is a past President of The Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland. Tim Rockall was elected to Council in 2015.

Stella Vig BSc (Hons), MBBCh, FRCSEng, FRCSEd, MCh, FRCS(Gen Surg)

Stella Vig

Stella Vig is a Consultant Vascular and General Surgeon at Croydon University Hospital. She was born in Bangor, North Wales and trained at the University of Wales College of Medicine, undertaking an intercalated BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and qualifying in 1991. She undertook research culminating in an MCh at St Georges Hospital, London. She was appointed as a consultant in 2006.

Stella has a strong interest in training and encouraging medical students and foundation years to pursue a career in surgery. She is keen to ensure that all trainees, whether male or female, are able to develop a harmonious balance between family and career. She has been the Foundation Program Director at Croydon Univesity Hospital for 10 years and holds many roles including those of Core Surgery and Higher Surgery Training Programme Director, JCST Chair for Core Surgery and General Surgery SAC member. Stella was awarded the NHS Leadership Academy London Mentor of the Year in 2015. She was also named as one of the Women of the Year.

She is one of three Clinical Directors for Croydon and is keen to see efficiency and excellence in patient care within the NHS. She is passionate about foot problems in patients with renal and diabetic disease and won the BMJ Leadership Award in 2010. She Co-Chairs the London Diabetic Foot Network within the Diabetes Strategic Clinical Network and is a trustee for the College of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. She was elected to Council in 2016.

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