Meet our staff

Carla Owen


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.

Jess Whitlock

Supporter Engagement & Marketing Manager

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!

Kelley Parfitt

Philanthropy Manager

Kelley has worked in the charity sector for over twenty years, mainly in fundraising, and often for international causes. Being a life-long animal rescuer and 20 plus years vegetarian (now vegan), she is elated to be working with Animal Free Research UK. She enjoys bringing together people who want to fund change with charities that can make that change.

Hikmot Ademosu

Grant Admin Assistant

Hikmot’s background is in copywriting and copyediting, primarily for market research and financial organisations. Whilst she has only worked within the charity sector for a short time, she has always been keen on working with an organisation that aligns with her beliefs and Animal Free Research UK is that! Hikmot enjoys cooking, baking, rainy days – literally, and believes laughter is the best cure for many ailments.

Elise Flood

Donor Development & Fundraising Manager

Elise has worked in the charity sector for many years, having most recently been at Diabetes UK and UNICEF Australia in their fundraising departments. A life-long animal lover, Elise enjoys sunny autumn days, long walks across the South Downs and oat milk flat whites.

Anne Howkins

Finance Manager

Anne has worked in finance for more years than she’d like to discuss, the last five being in the charitable sector. Animals have been a constant in her life, horses, dogs, cats, chickens and various small rodents owned by her now grown-up daughters. Her current companions are an American Quarter Horse and a whippet, both of whom can run a lot faster than she can. She hopes that one day the whippet will be as well-trained as the horse. She also writes very short fiction and eats more sweet things than she should.

Lilas Courtot

Science Manager

As Science Manager, Lilas supports Jarrod in delivering our scientific strategy at Animal Free Research UK. After completing engineering school and a PhD in cancer research, she decided to leave academia to be part of a more meaningful job, supporting animal-free research science. Lilas is very curious, loves animals (especially cats and horses), nature, outdoor sports, culture and is always keen to speak for hours about how we can fight injustice and make this world a better place.

Hannah Colvin

Public Affairs Officer

Hannah loves animals and practices what she preaches by looking after her three dogs, nine chickens and three boys. She has spent much of her career in and around Westminster, starting out at a political party’s HQ; then as an advisor to MPs; a spell in public affairs consultancy; and most recently managing local issues for an MP who currently serves as Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee. Hannah enjoys long dog walks in the countryside with her (usually) loyal hounds and is never happier than wading around in her wellies!

Page last modified on January 14, 2022 12:15 pm

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