Meet our staff

Carla Owen

CEO

Carla has wanted to help change the world since she was 12 when she had an epiphany in Cambridge Sainsbury’s that meant she would never again eat animals. She thinks big, draws badly and eats less vegan chocolate cake than she would like.

Nicola Reeves

Director of Finance and Operations

Nicola fell in love with the idea of working for charities when she was only a teenager and is driven by a desire to help make the world a better place. She's always had geeky tendencies, having learned to code in BASIC at age 8 as well as winning the school maths prize twice, so has settled very well into the role of Director of Finance & Operations.

Jarrod Bailey

Director of Science

With over 25 years of experience in the field, Jarrod leads our scientific strategy at Animal Free Research UK. After receiving his degree and Ph.D. in genetics from his hometown Newcastle University, he has spent much of his career evaluating the scientific validity and human relevance of animal experiments in many areas of biomedical research and drug testing, and promoting the use of human-specific research methods in their place. Nowadays, Jarrod lives in a quiet corner of Northumberland with his wife, daughter, border terrier, wire fox terriers, part-Scottish wild cat (!), and chickens.

Mimmo Di Giacomo

Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications

I am keen about contributing to transformative changes in our society to benefit humans and animals alike. I love to engage and move people to support so many worthwhile causes. And I have a passion for moviemaking and made my first indie feature film as independent producer.

Rebecca Shepherd

Science Officer

Rebecca oversees the management of our grants portfolio and assists with the delivery of our scientific strategy. She has been passionate about animal welfare and environmental issues from a very young age, and spent three years as a volunteer Community Ambassador for Animal Free Research UK while completing her MSc in Medicinal Chemistry. When she's not busy taking care of her menagerie of two dogs and five rabbits, Rebecca loves exploring the British countryside, cooking yummy vegan meals, and relaxing with a good book. Rebecca is excited to be in a position where she can help promote our vision, research and key messages so that we can achieve our mission of creating a world where animals are no longer used in medical research.

Patrick Baker

Head of Marketing

Patrick has spent a great deal of his life marketing things. Marketing drawings he made at school (primarily by sticking them on the fridge), marketing music he has made and plays that he has written. He is now very happy to be using everything he has learned to become Head of Marketing at Animal Free Research UK.

Jess Whitlock

Supporter Engagement Officer

Jess had worked in the charity events industry for 4 years before taking her step into Animal Free Research UK, where she is excited to work with compassionate people and be part of a pioneering charity. Jess loves to explore the world and climb mountains (but not so much the upward climb!). She also has a deep love for pick 'n' mix and musicals.

Isobel Hutchinson

Head of Public & Regulatory Affairs

Isobel is absolutely passionate about helping animals and making the world a kinder place, and worked at Animal Aid for seven years before her current role. She started out doing an internship at Four Paws, and studied French and Italian at university (taking the opportunity to volunteer at some animal sanctuaries while on her year abroad). Outside of work, she loves sewing, running, cycling and of course cooking and eating delicious vegan food!

Peter Simpson

Media & PR Manager

Peter is a former fulltime journalist who has worked on national and international news titles and spent over a decade as a foreign correspondent based in Beijing and Hong Kong, reporting from all over East Asia – including North Korea and Tibet. He has spent the last few years in charity media relations and PR. Animal cruelty and superfluous commas are his pet hates.

Darcie Wilson

PA to the Chief Executive

Darcie has spent the last few years supporting teams and individuals in charities and on INGO consultancies and is excited to be a part of the great team at Animal Free Research UK. Prior to her work in charities, she worked in both the finance sector in London and as an English teacher in Vietnam. She has always been an animal-lover, with her family home housing many rescue dogs over the years (8 at once at one point...), and her current favourite pastime is watching her cat be very weird. She enjoys cooking vegan food, running (almost!) every day, and is a regular gig-goer.

Imogen Ahlquist

Operations Executive

As our Operations Executive, Imogen assists Nicola and the wider team in the day to day running of Animal Free Research UK. This is her first position within a charity organisation, having most recently supported teams within both music and finance sectors. Imogen adores all animals (although has a particular affinity with felines), and spends her free time hiking in the Somerset countryside, making fresh pasta (among other veggie recipes) and re-learning the classical piano she was taught as a child.

Niamh Haslett

Science Project Coordinator

Niamh is delighted to be undertaking a scientific project with Animal Free Research UK as part of her PhD at the University of Hertfordshire. She has been an advocate for the eradication of animal use in research since the beginning of her academic career and aims to influence young researchers to follow this path. Niamh grew up in rural Northern Ireland, surrounded by stunning nature and animals, inspiring her to adopt a passion for animal welfare and environmental conservation. She loves to spend time volunteering, locally and internationally. In her spare time, Niamh loves exploring London and is a keen rower, hiker, and vegan cook!

Page last modified on August 2, 2021 9:00 am

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