Meet our Senior Management Team
Dr Gary Smerdon - CEO/Research Director
Gary completed his first degree (BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences) and PhD (yeast biotechnology) at the University of Exeter in Devon. In 1991 he moved to the Plymouth Marine Laboratory where he spent 13 years as a molecular biologist developing research into oceanography and coastal shelf science. He learnt to dive at Fort Bovisand in Plymouth in 1996 and in 2003 he was appointed as Research Director at what was then called the Diving Diseases Research Centre (DDRC), to coordinate and develop the research. Together with Senior Nurse Ali Bishop, he set up the DDRC Healthcare subsidiary company Plymouth Wound Care in 2011, through which further research avenues will be developed. In November 2012 he also took on the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the charity and Director of our training subsidiary DDRC Professional Services.
Dr Christine Penny - Medical Director
Christine caught the diving bug as a medical student in Newcastle and navigated her way through a medical rotation and two years of Emergency Medicine in between training to be a dive instructor and running a UK based dive liveaboard. Christine’s first post in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine was as a Civilian Medical Officer at the Institute of Naval Medicine, which also provided experience in medical aspects of Submarine Escape and Rescue. During this time Christine undertook training in the States as well as spending time in Aberdeen learning about commercial diving. Christine managed to squeeze in training to be a GP and undertaking a Postgrad Diploma in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine with the University of Auckland before moving to Plymouth in 2006 to work at DDRC. In 2010 Christine had a year in the sun in Australia working for Hyperbaric Health as a Medical Director of a unit in Perth before returning to Plymouth to take up the new role of Director of DDRC and subsequently the Medical Director of the newly branded DDRC Healthcare.
Peter Atkey - Operations Director
Pete is originally from London but has been based in the South West for the majority of his life. His background is in commercial diving and underwater inspection. Latterly he ran a company offering consultancy services to both inshore and offshore companies but in joining DDRC Healthcare he was able to apply his skills to the management of health and safety of our chamber operations. In 2012 Pete became a Chartered Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Peter has also, for the past nine years, been on the Board of the European Baromedical Association (EBAss); he is currently the President of the EBAss Accreditation Committee and as such is responsible for their Accreditation system.