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Senior management team

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Dr Claudia Canales Holzeis, Chief Executive

Dr Claudia Canales Holzeis, Chief Executive, obtained her DPhil in Plant Sciences from the University of Oxford in 2001. She has a near-decade experience in plant genetics research, and eleven years’ experience in projects related to rural development in Asian, African and Latin American countries. Between 2012 and 2022 she was a part-time consultant for the European Academies' Science Advisory Council’s Biosciences Programme. She was a consultant for the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) Project on Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture and for IAP's Climate Change and Health Project.Claudia was appointed to the role of Chief Executive of the Kirkhouse Trust in 2020 and leads the charity’s Senior Management Team.

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Emma Graham, Head of Administration

Emma Graham, Head of Administration obtained her BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of Leeds in 2004 and joined the Kirkhouse Trust in 2006. She was promoted to the post of Deputy Trust Secretary in 2010, and to her current post in January 2020. She is a member of the charity’s Senior Management Team.

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Dr Fleur Geoghegan, Operations Manager

Dr Fleur Geoghegan, Operations Manager, obtained her PhD in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Birmingham in 2008. Having previously worked as a research projects manager on EU FP7 projects, she joined the Kirkhouse Trust in 2011. Fleur is a fluent French speaker. She is a member of the charity’s Senior Management Team.

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Dr Sonia Morgan

Dr Sonia Morgan, the charity’s former Trust Secretary (2000 to 2019) now focuses her support for the charity on financial oversight and investment liaison activities. Sonia holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of Edinburgh.

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Officer team

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Dr Philip Pinheiro, Senior Science Project Officer

Dr Philip Pinheiro, Senior Science Project Officer, joined the charity in August 2018. Philip obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Portsmouth. He has 19 years of postdoctoral research in Developmental Biology, working for the University of Nottingham, MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and the University of Oxford. Philip’s research involved transcriptional signalling in blood stem cells and Leukaemia. Philip works on the charity’s ABC projects.

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Ms Petra Raitaniemi, Science Project Officer

Ms Petra Raitaniemi, Science Project Officer, joined the Kirkhouse Trust in April 2024. She obtained her MSc in Biomedicine, specialising in Molecular Medicine, from the University of Eastern Finland in 2023. Petra can communicate in English, Finnish and Swedish. She works on the charity’s African Cowpea Programme (ACP).  

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Mr Mark-Sharbel Asman, Science Project Officer

Mr Mark-Sharbel Asman, Science Project Officer, joined the charity in December 2022. Mark-Sharbel obtained his MSc in Public Health at Oxford Brookes University in 2019. He is also a registered associate Nutritionist (ANutr) since 2019. Mark-Sharbel can communicate in English, Arabic and French. Mark-Sharbel works on the charity's STOL & BBI projects.

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Helen Holt-Davies, PA to Senior Management Team & Office Facilities Manager 

Helen Holt-Davies joined the charity in January 2019. Helen has PA & secretarial experience over 30 years. She has worked in varied settings, for both public and private entities. Helen manages the KT facility at Unit 6, Fenlock Court, and she is PA to the Senior Management Team. 

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Ann Pearce, Procurement & Dispatch Officer

Ann Pearce, Procurement & Dispatch Officer obtained her BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences with Biology from the Open University in 2000. Ann manages the charity’s store and handles the purchasing and dispatch of equipment and consumables to KT-funded projects. Prior to joining the charity in 2016, Ann worked in a commercial role at Fisher Scientific and as laboratory manager for Allied Grain, running a busy cereal testing laboratory.

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Malcolm Little, Kirkhouse Trust Maintenance Officer

Malcolm Little, Kirkhouse Trust Maintenance Officer joined the charity in 2014. Malcolm is a qualified mechanical engineer and holds a Certificate in Education. Malcolm carries out maintenance and repairs to the charity’s office.

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Gordon Spankie, Accounting & Finance

Gordon Spankie, Accounting & Finance joined the charity in 2022. Gordon is a Chartered Accountant and has 36 years’ accounting experience. Gordon has a BA in Economics from the University of Leeds.

Gordon was Finance Officer at the Queen’s College in Oxford, a registered charity, for 16 years. He is also a Trustee of the North Oxford Overseas Centre, a charity providing affordable and welcoming accommodation to international post-graduate students, research workers and visiting scholars from all parts of the world.

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