Senior Leadership Team
Professor Judith Buttriss BSc DipDiet PhD RNutr FAfN
Judy studied Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Surrey. She worked as a research dietitian in Professor John Waterlow’s obesity unit for about a year before returning to Surrey to study for a PhD concerning vitamin C and hepatic drug metabolism, which combined the disciplines of nutrition, biochemistry and toxicology. Equipped with a doctorate, Judy worked in various labs as a postdoc researcher, in particular on vitamin E and selenium at Guy’s Hospital Medical School. In 1985 she decided to leave the lab environment and joined the National Dairy Council (NDC) as Senior Nutritionist, where she stayed until 1998 when she joined the BNF as Science Director. She became the BNF’s Director General in October 2007.
“I decided at the age of 14 or 15 that I wanted to study nutrition, my ambition then was to work in a hospital as a dietitian. During my industrial year at university I had the opportunity to work at the Institute of Child Health for 6 months on a research project and this made me realize that I wanted to help build and define the nutrition science evidence base, and a PhD was the route I took, followed by several postdoc contracts. At this point in my career I was looking for a permanent academic post when a job came up at the NDC. It was a huge change at the time but one that set the stage for my career in public health nutrition – building on the skills learned as a dietitian and focused on the communication and dissemination of evidence-based nutrition information. But I have not lost my hunger for learning new things, trying to look at the information before me with fresh eyes and keeping an open mind, whilst ensuring that scientific evidence underpins my efforts. Working at the BNF is full of challenges and opportunities – no two days are ever the same and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Mr Roy Ballam BA MA
Managing Director and Head of Education
Roy has responsibility for operations and optimisation of resources at the Foundation, reporting directly to Trustees, while also continuing to lead BNF’s Education work. He also has oversight of BNF branding and IT strategy, as well as the BNF Healthy Eating Week for schools.
Roy originally trained as a secondary school teacher, and has been a Principal Examiner. Roy manages the Foundation’s education programme, Food – a fact of life, and also works on a number of UK and European food and nutrition schools programmes and initiatives. Education work includes the production of innovative resources to support the teaching and learning of food and nutrition in schools, working with government, awarding organisations, NGOs and industry. He is also involved in providing high-quality professional development for teachers via face-to-face and online training. Roy is Chair of the International Federation of Home Economics’ Education Committee.
Role at BNF:
Sara is Science Director at the BNF, where her main role is to ensure the accuracy and quality of the scientific output of the science team. She is one of the editors of Nutrition Bulletin and has been involved in editing several of the BNF’s recent Task Force reports (including Cardiovascular Disease, Healthy Ageing and Nutrition and Development).
Nutrition Communications Manager
Having achieved a BSc in Biochemistry (University of Manchester), Bridget studied for an MSc in Human Nutrition (King’s College London). From 2005-06 she worked at the Food Standards Agency, joined BNF in 2006 as a Nutrition Scientist and was promoted to Senior Nutrition Scientist in 2010.
Bridget works mainly in the area of science communications, coordinating the BNF website and providing information for the media. She has also prepared and published reviews in the areas of hydration and health, and satiety and eating behaviour.
“After studying biochemistry, I had a strong interest in nutrition science and so took a Masters degree in human nutrition. My first job at the FSA was in the area of food safety, and although not directly in the field of nutrition, was useful experience that helped me in applying to work for the BNF. Working at BNF, I enjoy the challenge of communicating nutrition science so that it is accessible and interesting for consumers”
Ayela Spiro BSc Nutrition
After a previous career in arts and fashion management, Ayela graduated from Kings College, London with a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics, and began her nutrition career as a research dietitian at Imperial College, where she developed a special interest in cancer and malnutrition, and was awarded the Nutricia Clinical Research Prize. Ayela has subsequently developed strategies for elderly malnutrition with key health and charity organisations including Age UK, the Malnutrition Task Force and Guy's and St Thomas' and has also been involved in nutrition research required for the Department of Health and the National Patient Safety Agency.
Role at BNF:
Ayela is Nutrition Science Manager at the British Nutrition Foundation. At the heart of her role is providing expert advice and communicating evidence-based nutrition science and its association with public health concerns to key audiences including consumers, health professionals, charities, the media and the food industry. This strong interest in evidence-based public health was developed at the start of Ayela’s nutrition career as a research dietitian, and has continued in her work as a nutrition scientist. Ayela has been published in several journals including the British Journal of Cancer and Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics and is regularly invited to speak at conferences. Ayela is also the expert nutrition contributor for Quality Compliance Systems (QCS). Among her other responsibilities within BNF she is involved with working with academics on impact for research grant applications, and leads on the conference/webinar science programme and the BNF Information Standard accreditation, the NHS England quality mark that seeks to ensure accurate and evidence based health information to the public.
Education Services Manager
Claire develops educational materials to support the teaching of healthy eating, cooking and where food comes from. She also delivers practical food training with primary school teachers, and trainee teachers across the UK. Claire acts as a consultant to review and develop educational materials for independent and government organisations.
Lucy is a Psychologist with expertise in the biological and psychological mechanisms underlying overeating and satiety, food preference acquisition, healthy eating across the lifespan and quantitative and qualitative research methods. Lucy was awarded a Neuroscience BSc from the University of Sussex in 2003. After working at the University as research assistant in the School of Psychology she successfully completing her own programme of research on the biopsychology of appetite control and graduated with a PhD in 2009. Since, Lucy has worked as Research Fellow at University College London and University of Sussex on BBSRC and MRC funded nutrition-related research projects, and then at Leatherhead Food Research as Principal Nutrition Scientist.
Sarah obtained a BSc in Nutrition from the University of Surrey in 2009. As part of her degree, she spent a professional training year working in the nutrition team at Unilever. After completing her degree, Sarah joined the Science team at BNF and is now a Nutrition Scientist. Sarah conducts horizon scanning activities, writes articles for a variety of audiences as well as social media content, and responds to enquiries from the media. She also provides technical assistance for BNF’s journal Nutrition Bulletin and helps to review and develop BNF website content. Additionally, Sarah is providing support for the update to the 2005 BNF Task Force report on cardiovascular disease.
Kim works for the Education team organising events and conferences, dealing with enquiries, sales of resources and supporting the team with various projects.
Helena graduated with a BSc in Human Nutrition at Kingston University in 2008. She joined the BNF soon after as a Research Assistant for the Director General and Science Team and was promoted at the beginning of 2012 to a Nutrition Scientist in the Science Team.
Role at BNF
Helena's key responsibilities are disseminating nutrition science to a variety of audiences. She also actively contributes to the media service, which involves answering technical enquiries from journalists, and assists in the organisation of the conference and eSeminar programme. Helena has been involved in several projects such as helping to develop the nutrition criteria for early years settings for EYN Partnership and the healthy eating model for toddlers. Her particular interests lie in nutrition during pregnancy and in the early years.
"I have always been interested in nutrition and health, so I decided to follow my passion and study nutrition after a career in accountancy. I have a strong interest in public health and nutrition science, and being a mum to two boys along with having the opportunity to work on projects in the early years really inspired my interest in nutrition in young children."
Frances graduated from the University of North London with a BA in Hotel and Catering Management and then worked in the catering industry as a catering manager for a number of years. Following this, she set up a consultancy business running health and safety and food hygiene courses. Frances then decided to retrain as a teacher and followed the Graduate Teacher Programme to gain her QTS.
Frances has worked in a variety of educational establishments and in particular as Teacher in Charge of Food Technology at a girl’s grammar school in Kent. Frances has been involved in many of the Foundation’s education activities including Food in Schools, Teach Food Technology as a mentor and trainer and also as a Lead Practitioner for the Licence to Cook programme. Frances has also been a regular trainer for the Design and Technology Association’s Teaching Food Safely courses.
“I am very pleased and excited to have been given the opportunity to work with BNF. I have seen and used many of the fantastic resources produced by the team and it will be really interesting to now be ‘on the other side’ and actually be involved in the production of the resources and training programmes myself.”
Mizanur Rahman FCCA
Mizanur is a qualified chartered accountant and joined BNF in January 2015. He is a fellow of ACCA and AAT and has over eight years of experience in accounting and finance. He also completed an MSc in Accounting with Finance from London South Bank University. Before joining BNF, Mizanur was working for Health Education England as a strategic and reporting accountant.
Role at BNF:
As Company Accountant, Mizanur leads the BNF finance team and is responsible for preparing financial analysis and management information, and operating effective financial controls.