Management Team

VALIDATE Management Team

VALIDATE's Management Team oversee the direction, delivery and day-to-day running of the Network, liaising closely with the Network Management Board, the Scientific Advisory Board, and our funders.


Helen McShane

Prof Helen McShane - VALIDATE Director

Helen is a Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University, where she has led the Jenner Institute’s TB team since 2002. She has conducted clinical trials of candidate TB vaccines, developed both at Oxford and by industry collaborators, in the UK, South Africa, Uganda, Senegal and The Gambia, including the first modern efficacy trial of a candidate TB vaccine (MVA85A). As VALIDATE Director she leads the strategic and scientific direction of the Network, chairing the Network Management Board. You can read more about Helen's research interests here.



Samantha Sampson

Prof Samantha Sampson - VALIDATE Co-Director

Sam is Principal Investigator in Mycobacteriology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Her group has an interest in host-pathogen interactions, and aims to gain a better understanding of how the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis interacts with its host to cause disease, using molecular mycobacteriology and in vivo and in vitro infection models together with data-rich methodologies.  As VALIDATE Co-Director she leads the strategic and scientific direction of the Network with Helen. You can read more about Sam's research interests here.



Samantha Vermaak

Samantha Vermaak - Co-Investigator and Executive Manager, VALIDATE Network 

Sam is the Executive Manager of VALIDATE, based at University of Oxford. As a member of the Management Team and Network Management Board she helps plan VALIDATE’s strategic direction, and she leads on operations, with responsibility for turning plans into actual VALIDATE activities, as well as being responsible for VALIDATE’s financial management. She heads up the VALIDATE core staff team at University of Oxford. Managing VALIDATE from its inception in 2017, and as TB Vaccine Programme Manager at University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute for seven years prior to this, Sam has extensive experience in project/programme management, research grant financial management, managing clinical trials in the UK and overseas, working with industry partners, and managing international Consortia. Sam is also a trained coach and leads the VALIDATE Early Career Researcher Career Development Network. 

Do get in contact with Sam for any queries about VALIDATE. Find out more about Sam here.    LinkedIn   Twitter





VALIDATE's central team are based at University of Oxford, UK, and support the Management Team with VALIDATE's activities.


Blakeley Nixon

Blakeley Nixon - VALIDATE Communications and Events Coordinator

Blakeley is the VALIDATE Communications and Events Coordinator, based at University of Oxford. He has previously worked in a number of roles in the education and charity sector including as a community coordinator at Humanists UK and managing commemorative events with the Royal British Legion. Blakeley works with Sam Vermaak on VALIDATE’s communications and its events programme. If you have any questions relating to Events or Communications, do get in touch with Blakeley.      LinkedIn



Tom Wright

Tom Wright - VALIDATE Project Coordinator

Tom is the VALIDATE Project Coordinator, based at University of Oxford. He was previously employed in the private diagnostic laboratory sector, managing a range of projects including providing COVID-19 testing services for film and television productions. Tom works alongside Sam Vermaak and Blakeley Nixon, after joining the team in 2024.

You can get in touch with Tom with any queries about VALIDATE.