Meet the ELRIG Board

The ELRIG Board

ELRIG’s board is comprised of individuals who passionately believe in ELRIG’s values and purpose.  They are a diverse group, representing all facets of the ELRIG community, as well as having the skills and experience needed to manage a learned society.  Apart from the CEO, the board are all volunteers, taking no payment for the time they devote to ELRIG activities.

Melanie Leveridge


Melanie is an established preclinical drug discovery leader with a track record of developing and inspiring diverse, high performing teams, to deliver innovative science and technology. Mel worked for GSK for 19 years, holding a variety of roles in early discovery. For the past 8 years she was Head of Screening, Profiling and Mechanistic Biology UK, and in 2019 also gained accountability for GSK’s Global Sample Management department. In 2024 Mel moved to AstraZeneca as Vice President of Discovery Biology, with accountability for the AstraZeneca global cell bank, chemical biology, reagent generation and Bioassay development functions globally. Outside of AZ, Mel is a Society for Lab Automation and Screening (SLAS) Fellow, being Chair of the Board, Mel believes passionately in ELRIG’s mission to bring the life sciences and drug discovery communities together to foster collaboration and innovation, on an open access basis, and to support development of early career professionals.

Sanj Kumar


As CEO of ELRIG, my role is to help fulfill ELRIG’s vision of providing a communication forum for the UK drug discovery and research community. We are proud that we run so many meetings per year, each of which has innovative technology as a theme, and world renowned speakers presenting their research. We are supported by the vendor community and remain strictly not for profit, with the board providing their help and support without remuneration. ELRIG is a world class organization and has links to other LRIGs, as well as other scientific bodies. I have been involved with ELRIG for over 10 years and I am also the General Manager of DiscoveRx Europe, which gives me the skills needed to help manage ELRIG operationally as well as strategically, as I am very well connected in the drug discovery industry.

Del Trezise

Innovation Work Group Lead

Del joined the ELRIG board in 2017, following several years as the Scientific Program Chair for ELRIG DD. Trained in Pharmacology & Physiology, and with 20 years + experience in biotech and large pharma, Del is passionate about drug discovery networks and collaborations between industry, academia and tools providers. Del is currently Director & European Site Head for Essen BioScience.

Nick Clare

Vendor Strategy Work Group Leader

Nick has two decades of industrial life science experience across a variety of scientific and commercial roles in large pharma and startups. He is currently Regional Sales Manager (Head of Europe) at Synthego and in recent years, he has supported scientists in selecting tools and workflows in stem cells and CRISPR applications to help drive the discovery of new treatments. Nick was elected to sit on the General Committee of ELRIG in 2021 to support the organisation’s Networking Work Group. Prior to this, Nick worked as a scientist and lab head in R&D, leading projects to establish cell/genetic models for drug discovery and disease modelling.

Chris Williams

Engagement Strategy Work Group Leader

Chris is an in vitro pharmacologist with over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She has worked at Pfizer, UCB, Ipsen and the NHS demonstrating a breadth of scientific, project, business and change management experience. She is an advocate for collaborative working (whether it be within or across organizations) and is passionate about what people and teams can achieve when they are engaged and empowered. This philosophy is the driving force behind her coaching & consulting business, Questae. She is Treasurer Elect and a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society as well as being a member of the Board at ELRIG UK.

Clare Viney

People & Culture Work Group Leader

Clare is a Chartered Scientist and Chemist with 20 years’ experience in the science community and not-for-profit sector. She is a member of the ELRIG early career professional (ECP) workgroup and is passionate about investing in future generations and those from diverse backgrounds and experiences, empowering people to realise their potential and achieve their career and development goals. Prior to her role at CRAC/Vitae, Clare was with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) for 16 years in a variety of roles.

CRAC is a charity and was founded in 1964. Vitae, non-profit programme of CRAC, is the global leader in supporting the career and professional development of researchers, experienced in working with governments and over 200 institutions in 23 countries. It strengthens members and partners provision through research and innovation, training and resources, events, consultancy and membership. Vitae advocates for a healthy research environment and culture that will attract and develop a more diverse workforce, believing this will impact positively on individual and institutional performance and bring societal and economic benefits.

Paul Kendall


Paul is an industrial engineer by trade and has been involved in business development within industrial automation for nearly 25 years. During his career he has been involved in many industries including factory automation, process automation, food and beverage, printing and life sciences. Working within an international new markets group, Paul was heavily involved in the development of a market approach to the Lab Automation and Medical Device markets for Festo bringing together application knowhow with industrial automation robustness and best practice. Today, he is a member of the EMEA Leadership Team representing the Life Sciences market for Watson Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions. Paul is an active board member of ELRIG UK (European Laboratory Research Interest Group) and has been a member of the ELRIG General Committee since 2016.

Cassie Messenger

Early Career Professional Work Group

Cassie is a senior cellular assay scientist based at GSK in Stevenage, she is mainly behind the bench… but is also responsible for the recruitment and ongoing training of industrial placement students each year. This ignited her passion for working with early career professionals (ECPs) and led her to join the ECP workgroup at ELRIG. As an ECP herself, having recently completed a MPhil degree in collaboration with UCL and the Francis Crick Institute, she is delighted to be on the ELRIG board as a voice for the ECPs. Cassie feels ELRIG is an enormously important organisation for everyone, not just ECPs, and our events can offer so many opportunities to access high quality science, engage in networking events, and learn so much about the science industry, for free!

Saleha Patel

Networking Work Group Leader

Saleha is a Senior Research Scientist at AstraZeneca, where she supports early discovery projects within the R&D organisation. Prior to joining AstraZeneca in 2017, she completed her PhD and first Postdoc at the University of Leicester in partnership with UCB Pharma. Previous to that she studied at the University of York and spent a short time at CRUK London Research Institute. Saleha joined the ELRIG General Committee in 2017 and is now the current Chair of the Networking Events Workgroup.

Mark Soave

Early Career Professionals Work Group Leader

Mark is a Senior Scientist at OMass Therapeutics where he works as an in vitro pharmacologist. Prior to this, he completed his PhD and postdoctoral work at the University of Nottingham focussing on the molecular pharmacology of cell surface receptors. He has been active in several groups championing involvement and participation of Early Career members across different organisations, including previously sitting as the Chair of the Team Science Committee at the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors at the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham. Mark joined the ELRIG General Committee in 2020 and is now the Chair of the Early Career Professional (ECP) Workgroup.

Verena Brucklacher-Waldert


Verena leads Research Operations at Laverock Therapeutics, spearheading the development of programmable advanced therapies. She previously established and led R&D Services and immune-cell based initiatives at Revvity (formerly Horizon Discovery) to deliver drug discovery projects using complex functional genomic screens, cutting-edge gene editing approaches, and novel automation solutions in a customer-centric environment. With a background in both biotech drug development and academia, Verena holds a PhD in Immunology, an MSc in Neurosciences, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Practices. She is also recognized as a Chartered Manager Fellow of the CMI. Passionate about forging synergies across sciences, technologies, and commercial sectors, Verena views ELRIG as an instrumental platform for fostering collaboration within the life science and drug discovery community. She is committed to leveraging her expertise to drive strategic initiatives and propel innovation in the field.



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