Sir Brian Follett chaired the Royal Society committee that this week recommended the vaccination of animals at risk of developing foot-and-mouth disease. If the animals are then found to be disease-free, they should not be culled, the committee said.
Sir Brian, 63, is based in the department of zoology at the University of Oxford, where he plans to resume his research on biological clocks and reproductive physiology following his year working on the infectious diseases inquiry.
As vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick from 1993 until 2001, Sir Brian oversaw its growth in stature and financial strength.
During his tenure, the university became the first 1960s institution to get a medical school.
In December 2000, Sir Brian scored a massive publicity coup when US president Bill Clinton chose to deliver a speech on globalisation at the university. Sir Brian joined him on stage with prime minister Tony Blair.
But his tenure was not universally popular. Last March, police cautioned a student who entered his office and hurled eggs at him.
Since leaving Warwick, Sir Brian has combined his scientific research with being chairman of the Arts and Humanities Research Board.
He said: "I love the arts, the history of art, theatre and music but I am not an expert in them. As non-executive chairman, my role is to bolster and support them and I can say to a government minister that they should be supported without the minister saying that I would say that."
Sir Brian did his first degree and PhD at the University of Bristol before he became a research fellow at Washington State University in the US. He has also worked at the universities of Leeds, Bangor and Bristol.