Staff and interns

Andreas Persbo
Executive Director

Mr Andreas Persbo is the Executive Director of the London-based Verification Research. Training and Information Centre. He has been working on a range of issues at the centre for more than a decade. His focus has been on on-site inspections, with a particular emphasis on on-site inspections of warhead dismantlement, fissile material controls and monitoring, and CTBT inspection methodology.

Mr Persbo holds a juris kandidat from Stockholm University, Sweden, as well as a diploma in Nuclear Law from the University of Montpellier I, France. Before VERTIC, Andreas has worked with the British American Security Information Council. Before that, he served at a Swedish District Court. In the early 1990s, he completed two tours of duty as a United Nations Peacekeeper: in Lebanon and Former Yugoslavia.

His latest publications are Persbo, Andreas, 'Verification requirements' in Lodgaard, Sverre, ed. Stable Nuclear Zero: The Vision and Its Implications for Disarmament Policy. S.l.: Routledge, 2016; and Persbo, Andreas and Drobrysz, Sonia, 'Strengthening the IAEA verification capabilities' in Nuclear Weapons: Strengthening the International Legal Regime. Edited by Ida Caracciolo, Marco Pedrazzi and Talitha Vassalli Di Dachenhausen. Utrecht: Eleven International Publishing, 2016.

View his public profile (which includes publications) on Linked-in.

Based in London, United Kingdom.

Angela Woodward
Deputy Executive Director
Acting Programme Director for Special Projects

Angela Woodward was appointed Deputy Executive Director in October 2014. She joined VERTIC in April 1999 and held a succession of posts, including Executive Director from 2007-2009 when she stepped down to return to live in New Zealand, from where she managed the NIM Programme from 2009-2014.

She is the editor-in-chief of VERTIC’s publication series. She specialises in the legal, policy and technology aspects of arms control and disarmament verification, primarily in the biological, chemical and conventional weapons fields. She has published and spoken widely on BTWC implementation and verification. In 2005 she initiated VERTIC’s programme to provide legislative assistance for national implementation of the BTWC.

In addition to her VERTIC work, she has served on New Zealand's Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control (PACDAC) since 2011 and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the School of Law, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She is also a UK expert to the EU CBRN Risk Mitigation and Centres of Excellence Initiative. Angela was an adviser to the chair of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Verification in All its Aspects in 2006, and from April 2006 to March 2007 she was the Legal Coordinator for the EU Joint Action on the BTWC (2006/184/CFSP).

During January 1998 to April 1999 she worked for the Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation (PPNN) at the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies, University of Southampton, United Kingdom. Angela holds an LLM in Public International Law (Merit) and a post-graduate certificate in higher education (PGCHE) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, and a BA (Hons) in Political Science and an LLB from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

View her profile on LinkedIn. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand.  

Dr Sonia Drobysz
Programme Director for National Implementation

Sonia is the Programme Director for VERTIC's National Implementation Measures programme where she works on the national implementation of international instruments related to nuclear security, UNSC Resolution 1540 and the Biological Weapons Convention. She analyses legislation, provides legal advice on draft laws and regulations, assists in legislative drafting, raises awareness and publishes on the international and national legal framework for non-proliferation and nuclear security. She also contributed to the development of legislation drafting tools, such as VERTIC's online BWC Legislation Drafting Assistant and National Legislation Implementation Kit on Nuclear Security.

Sonia holds a PhD in international law from University Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne. Her thesis looked at the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. She also holds a master degree in international law and international organisations from University Paris I, and a university diploma in international nuclear law from University Montpellier 1/ OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. Sonia attended the public international law session of The Hague Academy of International Law in 2009.

Sonia formerly taught international relations, international law and constitutional law at the Sorbonne University. She was also an associate research fellow at the French Centre for International Security and Arms Control Studies (CESIM) where she worked and published on the IAEA safeguards system.

 She speaks English, French and Spanish.

 Based in Paris, France.

Larry MacFaul
Programme Director for Verification and Monitoring

Larry is the Programme Director for the Verification and Monitoring Programme where he works on arms control, security, environment and trade issues. He has published and spoken widely on these areas. Larry carries out analysis, project development and management, and government capacity-building. His work has covered a range of issues including illicit trafficking in radioactive materials, nuclear safeguards, nuclear disarmament verification, conventional arms trade controls, the UN climate change treaty, and illegal production and trade in natural resources. He works with governments, international organisations, businesses, research institutes and other stakeholders.

Larry is a member of the editorial board for the international journal Climate Law.

Larry holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a BA Hons from Oxford University.

Based in London, United Kingdom.

Yasemin Balci

Senior Legal Officer

Yasemin Balci is a Senior Legal Officer for VERTIC’s National Implementation Measures Programme. She provides legal advice on the legislative implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention, UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and agreements related to nuclear security.

Yasemin holds an LLM in international law from the University of Cambridge, where she studied on a Huygens Scholarship. She finished her honours undergraduate degree at University College Utrecht and obtained her law degree from the University of Amsterdam. She has a university diploma in international nuclear law from University Montpellier 1/OECD Nuclear Energy Agency.

Yasemin formerly worked as a Legal Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in the private legal sector in London, and as a policy officer at Cordaid, an international development NGO in The Hague. 

She speaks Dutch, English, (intermediate) French and Turkish. 

Based in London, United Kingdom.

Noel Stott
Senior Researcher

Noel Stott joined VERTIC in November 2016 after more than 14 years as a Senior Researcher and then Senior Research Fellow at the South African-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS). He has extensive experience in all aspects of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation having worked on the challenges facing African states by the proliferation of conventional weapons. In particular, Mr Stott has knowledge of small arms and light weapons. In 2007, he established and led ISS’ programme on ‘Africa’s Development and the Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction’. This programme aimed to enhance Africa’s role in international efforts to strengthen weapons of mass destruction disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives in the context of Africa’s developmental imperatives through the provision of primary research, policy recommendations and training activities.

Recent publications include: Amelia Broodryk and Noël Stott, ‘Progress towards securing Africa's nuclear resources’, ISS Research Report, March 2012; Noël Stott, ‘The Treaty of Pelindaba: Towards the full implementation of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty’, ISS Research Report, March 2011; Nicolas Kasprzyk, Mothepa Shadung and Noël Stott (eds), ‘Towards the 2016 Comprehensive Review: former experts assess UNSC Resolution 1540’, ISS Monograph No. 19, October 2015; Nicolas Kasprzyk, Emmanuelle Maitre, Xavier Pasco and Noël Stott, ‘The Hague Code of Conduct regulates ballistic missiles. How will African states benefit from subscribing?’, ISS Policy Brief, 29 September 2016; Annie DuPre, Nicolas Kasprzyk and Noël Stott, ‘Cooperation between African states and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’, ISS Research Report, November 2016; Sarah Parker, Nelson Alusala, Mothepa Shadung and Noël Stott, ‘National implementation of selected arms control instruments: a legislative guide for African states’, ISS Research Report, December 2016.

Based in London, United Kingdom, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Alberto Muti
Senior Researcher

Alberto Muti is a Senior Researcher for VERTIC's Verification and Monitoring Programme, where he leads the organisation's work on IAEA Safeguards and Nuclear Security. He also contributes research and analysis to work on other areas, including nuclear and biological arms control and conventional and cyber security.

Alberto's work and expertise encompass planning and delivering capacity-building programmes, conducting workshops, designing tabletop simulations and "serious games" for research and training purposes, and developing innovative tools to facilitate and enhance research and analytical work.

Alberto holds a Master's Degree in Non-Proliferation and International Security for King's College London. In the past, he has worked for King's College London's Center for Science and Security Studies, focusing on Nuclear Security training and education.

Based in London, United Kingdom.

Cédric Apercé
Legal Officer 

Cédric is a Legal Officer for VERTIC's National Implementation Measures programme, where he works on the national implementation of UNSC Resolution 1540, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Prior to joining VERTIC, Cédric was a British Red Cross Research Fellow on the joint British Red Cross/International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) project on customary international humanitarian law. He formerly worked as a legal attaché at the ICRC Advisory Service on International Humanitarian Law in Geneva, and as a legal assistant to the United Nations International Law Commission. Cédric also conducted several internships with Avocats sans Frontières France, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights in Geneva.

Cédric holds an LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights from the Geneva Academy (Switzerland), a Master in International and Comparative Law from the University of Toulouse (France), as well as a Master of Comparative Law from the Universities of Mannheim (Germany) and Adelaide (Australia).

Cédric speaks French, English and Spanish.

Based in London, United Kingdom.

Celeste Donovan


Celeste joined VERTIC in May 2018 as a Researcher for the Special Projects team. 

Celeste holds a Master’s degree (Distinction) from the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago and an Honours degree (First Class) in Diplomacy and International Relations and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Canterbury, both in New Zealand.

Celeste previously worked as a Licensing Assessor and an Adviser for the Financial Markets Authority in New Zealand, involved in developing the new licensing regime and providing advice and ensuring compliance with the financial adviser's regime. She has held several positions conducting research, project management, communications, stakeholder management and staff development in the political sector in New Zealand. She was also a Research Scholar at Statistics New Zealand.

View her profile on 
LinkedInBased in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Cristina Rotaru


Cristina joined VERTIC in July 2018 as a Researcher in the Special Projects team. 

Her last role was with Content Enablers, a U.S.-based compliance training company for which she provided expertise to industry, predominantly in the aerospace and defence sector, on international trade regulations, with a specific focus on export controls, sanctions and embargoes, and import restrictions. 
Previously, Cristina worked as a Research Associate for Project Alpha at King’s College London to understand and counter illicit nuclear proliferation-related trade and activities, and as Principal Researcher for the World Export Controls Review (WorldECR), a London-based publication covering global issues around export controls and sanctions. Her academic background is in international conflict regulation and security, for which she obtained an MA in Conflict Resolution from King’s College London. She also holds two Bachelor degrees, in Journalism and Political Science, from the University of Vienna (Austria), as well as a certification in Middle Eastern Studies from Bilgi University Istanbul (Turkey). 
She is fluent in Romanian, German, and English, and has working proficiency in Spanish, and French.
Cristina is based in London.

Helen Cummins


Helen joined Vertic in September 2017 as Administrator. She provides office management and support to all the team.

Helen’s career to date has chiefly been in Banking and where she was responsible for managing operations, creating business procedures, streamlining processes and building controls.

Based in London, United Kingdom.

Tom Hobson
Science Fellow

Tom is a researcher and project consultant working in the broad spheres of international security, technology and global governance. He is currently completing PhD research in International Security at the University of Bath. His work has covered a range of issues including : the development and use of autonomous weaponry,; biosecurity and the military application of advanced biotech; biometric surveillance; taboo weaponry; the role of technology in the practice of war and state violence; water security and environmental sustainability.

Tom joined VERTIC in 2017 as the organisation's first security & technology research fellow. He will be conducting research on the security implications of contemporary innovations in biotechnology, and how these technologies might be managed by new or existing prohibition and governance regimes.

Tom has also worked as a biosecurity and risk consultant for organisations such as and has advised on the development of sustainable security measures for synthetic biology.

He holds an MSc. in Global Security from the University of Glasgow as well as an MA in Central and East European Studies from the same institution.

Based in Bath, United Kingdom.

Sylvia Barnett
Volunteer, Special Projects

Sylvia is a volunteer at VERTIC from May to November 2018. She is providing research assistance to the Special Projects team, on DPRK sanctions issues, and will prepare articles for Trust & Verify.

Sylvia is studying towards LLB and BA degrees, majoring in Political Science, Spanish and History, at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. She will gain academic credit for her volunteer work at VERTIC through the completion of coursework and an essay on disarmament law, with funding from the New Zealand Peace and Disarmament Education Trust. Sylvia is currently President of 180 Degrees Consulting which is focused on helping the community of Christchurch affected by the 2011 earthquakes. Sylvia also worked on a University of Canterbury academic’s legal submission on a proposed constitution bill in New Zealand, with her work cited by academics.

Sylvia speaks Spanish.

Based in Christchurch, New Zealand.