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Non-executive director Professor Sharon Peacock is announced as Churchill College’s 8th master

Professor Sharon Peacock CBE FMedSci, non-executive director at our hospitals, will become the 8th master of Churchill college, Cambridge.

She will succeed Dame Professor Athene Donald DBE FRS, whose 10-year term concludes in September 2024. Sharon will take up post in October 2024.

Sharon is currently professor of microbiology and public health in the department of medicine, University of Cambridge. Her research over the last decade has focused on translating pathogen sequencing into mainstream practice to improve patient care and public health.

Sharon was the founding director of COG-UK (COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium), formed in April 2020 to generate SARS-CoV-2 genomes to inform the COVID-19 pandemic response. She has also used sequencing to track the spread of antimicrobial resistant organisms between humans, animals, and the environment. Sharon has served as a non-executive director on the board of the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2015.

Professor Sharon Peacock standing outside Churchill College wearing a black and blue dress
Image: Churchill College Cambridge

Sharon went to a state school and was the first in her family to gain a university degree. After qualifying as a dental nurse and then a general adult nurse, she trained in medicine at the University of Southampton. Postgraduate medical training in Southampton, London and Brighton was followed by higher specialist training in clinical microbiology and virology in Oxford. Sharon gained a PhD following research conducted at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Oxford. She is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, received a CBE for services to medical microbiology in 2015, and was awarded the medical research council millennium medal in 2021.

Professor Sharon Peacock said of her appointment:

It is an honour to be elected the next Master of Churchill College. This forward-thinking and progressive College combines a welcoming and inclusive environment with academic excellence, which includes a focus on some of today’s biggest global challenges. Its commitment to access, diversity and equality and its focus on sustainability are impressive and represent areas I am keen to build on. I look forward to getting to know the Fellows, staff, students and Alumni, and to leading the College through the next chapter in its ongoing development.

Professor Sharon Peacock

Dame Athene Donald said, “I am delighted to be leaving the mastership in Sharon’s exceedingly capable hands. She has compelling experience and expertise which will be hugely beneficial to the Churchill college community. I am deeply fond of the college which has been my home for the past 10 years. I am particularly proud of the huge strides forward which the college has made in sustainability and in achieving gender parity during this time, and I look forward to seeing it continue to thrive under Sharon’s mastership.”