Derry cancer specialist gets top research job

Sir John Savill, Professor Paddy Johnston and Queen's University's Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.
Sir John Savill, Professor Paddy Johnston and Queen's University's Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.
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A Derry man who is one of the world’s top cancer clinicians has been appointed chairman of an influential medical body.

Professor Patrick Johnston, who is Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast, will chair the Translational Research Group of the Medical Research Council (MRC), which is responsible for developing and implementing the MRC’s research strategy.

The body invests in high-quality medical research across a wide range of diseases and disciplines.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Johnston said: “This appointment is not only an honour for me but also for Queen’s University and Northern Ireland.

“It is also a major recognition of the research work undertaken in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

“It will allow me to further develop translational research across the UK and also direct research at Queen’s into areas that will be more successful.”

Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, added: “Professor Johnston’s appointment is extremely important. The role as chair of the Transitional Research Group is key to its success in the UK, which is one of our main objectives.

Professor Johnston, a past pupil of St. Columb’s College, is a world-renowned cancer oncologist.

He was the driving force behind the development of a comprehensive cancer centre for Northern Ireland, encompassing a state-of-the-art clinical cancer centre and a £25 million major cancer research complex, the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s.