About this event

  • Date and time Thu 28 Jul 2022 from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Location Online

Ever since Coronavirus first emerged, it has been mutating into new genetic variants. Sub-variants have been driving infection rates as UK cases are up 18% week-on-week.  

In this episode of the COVID-19 series, we will be joined by our panellists Dr Thomas Peacock, Professor Lawrence Young, and Professor Emma Thomson. The session will be chaired by Professor Gillian Leng CBE, and aims to provide an update on Coronavirus mutations, and how this is influencing the current number of positive cases in the UK.  

The RSM COVID-19 Series is for health professionals, by health professionals; a series of talks dedicated to give healthcare workers on the frontline, regular and easy-to-access updates from healthcare leaders on COVID-19. 

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Key speakers

Gillian Leng - use this

Professor Gillian Leng

CBE, Chief Executive of NICE 

Speaker's biography

Gillian Leng, CBE, MBChB, MD, is a professor of public health with a wealth of experience in healthcare and the life sciences sector.  She was on the Board of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for over 20 years (2001-2021) most recently as its Chief Executive.  As NICE’s Chief Executive, Gillian was responsible for delivering a new 5 year strategy to put NICE at the forefront of global evaluation of new technologies.  This was underpinned by a vision for creating dynamic living guidelines for frontline healthcare staff.  Prior to this, Gillian was instrumental in establishing the original clinical guideline programme at NICE, followed by setting up an implementation work programme to ensure the recommendations changed practice.  She also developed many of NICE’s new initiatives including indicators for the Quality and Outcomes Framework and for the online portal NICE Evidence. 

With a passion for using evidence to improve healthcare, Gillian is a trustee of the Guidelines International Network and a member of the Global Evidence Commission.  She is a visiting professor at King’s College London, an affiliate professor at the University of Singapore and a healthcare adviser for Brevia Health.  Gillian read medicine at the University of Leeds, and is a fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in London and Edinburgh.  She was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Leeds in 2022, and a CBE in 2012 for services to healthcare.

Lawrence Young

Professor Lawrence Young

Professor of Molecular Oncology, Warwick Medical School

Speaker's biography

Lawrence Young is internationally recognised for his work on the role of virus infection (Epstein–Barr virus and human papillomavirus) in the pathogenesis of various tumours. He also has an interest in gene and immunotherapy and this work has resulted in several clinical trials. He has published over 240 research papers in scientific journals as well as over 80 reviews and book chapters in the fields of virology, cancer and tumour immunology. Lawrence is listed amongst the World’s most cited scientists in the ISI’s list of Highly Cited Researchers and has received major grants from Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia Research Fund (now Blood Cancer UK) and the Medical Research Council.

Lawrence was Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Birmingham from 2008 to 2012 and then joined the University of Warwick as Pro-Vice Chancellor with responsibility for strategic planning and resources.  In 2018 Lawrence was appointed Professor of Molecular Oncology and Director of the Warwick Cancer Research Centre. In 2019 he became co-lead of the Warwick Health Global Research Priority – a cross-campus interdisciplinary health network. He has an adjunct Professorship at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) and Visiting Professorships at the Cancer Center, Sun Yat-sen University (Guangzhou, China) and the Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing at Universitas Gadjah Mada (Yogyakarta, Indonesia).

During the pandemic Lawrence has worked with colleagues on various aspects of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. He has been particularly busy with local, national and international media during the pandemic and has contributed to various governmental and national body reviews related to the response to the pandemic and future preparedness.

Dr Thomas Peacock

Dr Thomas Peacock

Postdoctoral Scientist, Virology Advisor, Imperial College London, UKHSA


Speaker's biography

Tom did his PhD on the topic of avian influenza virus between The Pirbright Institute and Imperial College London. He did a brief first post-doc at UCL on HIV before moving to Imperial to work on swine influenza virus. During the pandemic Tom has largely worked on SARS-CoV-2 and variants at Imperial and part time as an advisor at UKHSA.

Emma Thomson

Professor Emma Thomson

Professor in Infectious Diseases, University of Glasgow

Speaker's biography

Emma Thomson is Clinical Professor of Infectious Diseases at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) and Professor of Emerging Viral Infections at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She trained in infectious diseases and general (internal) medicine in London and carried out her PhD at Imperial College London and the University of Oxford.  She is funded by the MRC, HDR-UK, the UK Rapid Support Team and Scottish government to investigate new and emerging viral infections in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa using metagenomic next generation sequencing approaches. She is responsible for analysing the genetic diversity and phenotype of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Scotland as part of the COG-UK, ISARIC4C and Genotype2Phenotype consortia. She leads the EVADE and DOVE studies that aim to evaluate vaccine effectiveness to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.  She has sequenced a number of viruses, including novel viruses in partnership with the Uganda Virus Research Institute including CCHF, Ebola, HCV, HIV and hantaviruses using metagenomics and target enrichment-based approaches.



Registration for this webinar will close 1 hour prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 1 hour before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted.


  • The agenda is subject to change at any time
  • If the event is recorded, we are only able to share presentations that we have received permission to share. There is no guarantee that all sessions will be available after the event, this is at the presenter’s and RSM discretion.
  • All views expressed at this event are of the speakers themselves and not of the Royal Society of Medicine, nor the speaker's organisations.
  • This event will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels.
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