Meet the team

Tim McLachlan
Chief Executive

Tim’s prime role is to provide the leadership and direction for the executive team. He works closely with the Board to develop our overall strategic direction, translating this into actual delivery.

Tim is responsible for external relations with many of our key supporters and collaborators. In addition, he oversees our publications, especially the International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 

Tim’s career in the voluntary sector includes over 14 years leading and developing national charities in allergy, health and social care, Olympic Legacy and social exclusion.  Tim completed an MBA at the University of Liverpool, their first student to do so focussing on the voluntary sector.  His first degree was in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he specialised in cancer chemotherapy and the treatment of infectious diseases.  Prior to joining IFST Tim led the rapid growth of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation from start-up to national high-profile charity. This included the UK-wide implementation of Natasha’s Law, and defining and funding the pioneering Natasha Clinical Trial to enable food allergy oral immunotherapy to be available on the NHS, with tolerance maintained with shop bought foods.  Prior to that, Tim was National Director of Services for Alzheimer’s Society across the UK.

Tim enjoys Cathedral Choral Music and sings in Chester Cathedral Choir with his daughter. Away from the anthem book it’s all about the outdoors - leading Explorer Scouts (including the Duke of Edinburgh Award), climbing mountains with his son, and walking his three rescue sighthounds.

Deborah Kendale
Business Development Director

Deborah is responsible for leading IFST’s business development plans and developing growth opportunities as well as new projects and workstreams which will contribute to the sustainability and growth of the Institute.

She is also responsible for the marketing and communications team to ensure an aligned approach to these activities with our membership and with the aim of achieving maximum impact and reaching a wide and engaged audience externally. 

Deborah has enjoyed a varied career including ten years as an auditor and a quality manager in the industry as well as food law enforcement. Most recently Deborah managed business development and marketing for various university-based continuing professional development projects for industry professionals. Since graduating in Food Science and Microbiology from the University of Leeds, Deborah has achieved both a Chartered Institute of Marketing postgraduate diploma and a Masters in Marketing Management. As a Fellow of IFST Deborah has contributed to special interest groups and educational initiatives in secondary schools.

Pastimes include pilates, yoga and overseas travel. Deborah is also a keen cook and volunteers with her local ReEngage group to help older people make new friends.

Stephen French
Scientific Policy Director

Stephen is responsible for leading IFST policy development and engagement on scientific and technical issues, and policy relevant to IFST mission in education, skills and professional recognition.  In addition, he supports the External Affairs Advisory Committee and Consultations Group.  In this role, Stephen engages with key government departments from the UK nations, key opinion leader academics, and food sector industry leaders to support the IFST mission.

Since graduating from University of Sheffield with a BSc. (Hons) in Physiology and a Ph.D. in Gastrointestinal Physiology and Nutrition, Stephen had an academic career in research and teaching prior to joining Mars Inc.  During his time with Mars Inc., Stephen worked in a variety of research and Scientific and Regulatory Affairs roles for the organisation in European and Global roles, and in Confectionery, Food, and Petfood sectors of the business. 

Outside of work, Stephen is a Governor at a leading independent day school and a volunteer at a local community garden.  Stephen enjoys running, cycling and is a keen gardener.

Natasha Medhurst
Senior Scientific Affairs Manager

Natasha’s principle focus is on scientific activities and affairs, contributing to the communication of our scientific voice. She is responsible for writing new scientific materials for our members and other interested parties as well as in response to specific external enquiries.

In addition, Natasha supports the Scientific Committee, coordinates the relationship with our Special Interest Groups and acts as an external scientific representative for collaborations with other relevant organisations.  

Since graduating from University of Reading with a BSc (Hons) in Food Technology, Natasha has taught Food Science in China and worked in product development, quality, project management, factory technical and regulatory roles in the food industry. As an IFST Fellow herself, she is fully aware of the importance of supporting and uniting food professionals for the advancement of the sector.   

Natasha enjoys travel, cooking and yoga.

Delia Mertoiu
Marketing and Business Development Manager

Delia is responsible for the coordination of our marketing activities. She develops promotional support materials and tools to enhance the awareness of our events and activities and works with external promotional support contractors on IFST marketing projects.

In her role, Delia manages the end-to-end delivery of our key conferences, lectures and launchpads to ensure they are creative and engaging. She also coordinates and actively manages approaches to food-industry employers to promote and progress our group membership scheme, CPD and professional registration schemes.

Delia has worked in HR, finance and business analysis and has a master’s degree in marketing. She appreciates the relationship management side of her job and enjoys building strong relationships with members, stakeholders, suppliers and corporate partners by fully understanding their professional needs, strategies and objectives.

Delia is a book lover and enjoys dancing, travelling and cultural diversity.

Robin Leaper
Digital Marketing and Communications Officer

Robin is responsible for all of IFST social media and email communications. He creates digital content including photography, videography, graphics and printed materials. He manages the IFST webinar program helping to deliver IFST's scientific content and manages the website. In addition, he creates food science fact sheets aimed at the general public.

Robin has an undergraduate degree in Food Science from the University of Nottingham and worked for PepsiCo during an industrial placement year. He achieved a Master’s degree in research with a project for McCain Foods. Since graduating he worked as a researcher for Channel 4’s ‘Food Unwrapped’ documentary responsible for creating topical ideas to communicate facts about the food industry and dispel myths.

Robin enjoys hockey, canoeing, illustration and photography.

Robert Edge-Partington
Media and Communications Officer

Robert has a background in sustainability and science communications, and has previously worked for the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, the University of Oxford, and as a science communications specialist, focussing on communicating climate science and sustainability. His work is often directed towards making science more accessible to the public; in 2022 he delivered a Climate Science and Communications workshop to thousands of young people across the UK, speaking at music festivals and online. Robert also regularly appears on panels and on social media platforms to speak on sustainability and science communication.

Robert previously studied for an MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, where his research covered food system resilience in Puerto Rico, with a focus on vertical farming. Robert also holds a bachelor's degree from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po).

Jamie Keld
Digital Marketing and Communications Officer (Sabbatical cover)

Jamie is responsible for all of IFST social media channels. He creates digital content including photography, videography, graphics and printed materials. He manages the IFST webinar program helping to deliver IFST's scientific content.

Jamie has a Masters degree in Marketing from The University of Edinburgh. Having lived in five countries, he has a broad international marketing and business background specializing in strategy, campaign management, digital technologies, research, data analysis, and event management. He has previously worked in non-profit, government, and commercial sectors.

In his free time, Jamie enjoys travelling, cooking, watching football, and listening to live music.

Daiane Cazuza
Events Coordinator

With a Master's degree from the University of Westminster and broad events management experience across the globe, Daiane is responsible for managing and coordinating all events activities and membership communications at IFST. Outgoing, curious, and creative – she is passionate about delivering innovative and successful events.

She is very interested in food nutrition and health style. In her free time, she is enjoying meditation, cooking, travelling, visiting rooftop bars/restaurant and walk around the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Hayley Mahon
HR and Business Coordinator

Hayley is the HR & Business Coordinator and her responsibilities include Recruitment, Payroll & HR administration. She also supports the team with IT, Governance & Project administration. She has previously worked within Local Government, Environmental Health, Trading Standards and the NHS.

In her spare time, Hayley loves going to gigs and festivals, reading and writing fiction, and scouring Record Shops for old vinyl.

Ayman Sadik
Membership Systems Coordinator

Ayman is the Membership Systems Coordinator, currently supports the team with CRM and is responsible for web development, data compiling and analysis.

Ayman has an undergraduate degree in Finance, Accounting & Management from the University of Nottingham. He has previously worked with Amazon before as a project manager in which he was responsible for a real-time live software platform.

In his spare time, Ayman enjoys boxing, football, chess and reading.

Nwando Onuigbo-Chatta
Scientific Assistant Intern

Nwando’s prime responsibilities are the identification, collation and creation of advisory knowledge sharing materials for IFST stakeholders, including professionals working in the food sector. She also provides support for the scientific committee.

Her areas of expertise are in research, programme management, monitoring and evaluation and knowledge management. She previously worked as a Research Associate for Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and in other research roles at London Metropolitan University where she is currently studying for an MSc. in Food Science. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria and a Master of Veterinary Public Health (MVPH) from University of Glasgow. Nwando is passionate about collaborating with others to make a beneficial impact in the security, safety, sustainability and policy of food.

Her hobbies are cooking, dancing, gardening and listening to music.