Co. Antrim man named new AFBI chief executive

Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has named one of its most senior researchers as its new chief executive.

Dr. Stanley McDowell will take on the mantle from Dr. Sinclair Mayne, who announced his retirement at the start of this year.

The Ballymena man graduated in veterinary medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1987.


McDowell has worked in general practice and the Veterinary Service of the then Department of Agriculture, before joining the Veterinary Services Division as a veterinary research officer in 1990.

He has a Master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of London and the jointly awarded post-graduate diploma of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He also completed a PhD on the epidemiology of Salmonella and Campylobacter in production animals.

He has worked across a spectrum of animal disease surveillance, statutory and research work areas and has been responsible for leading statutory and analytical work on a number of bacterial and zoonotic infections.

His research interests have included the food-zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance, brucellosis and bovine TB.

In October 2010, he was appointed as a senior veterinary research officer and head of the Bacteriology Branch.

During this time he took responsibility for a programme of statutory, analytical and research work on the major veterinary bacterial diseases – including bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, paratuberculosis – and the food-borne zoonoses.

He was promoted in February 2013 to deputy chief executive officer and is currently director of the Veterinary Services Division.