A Derry-born cancer specialist has been has been appointed Queen’s University Belfast’s 12th President and Vice-Chancellor.
Professor Patrick Johnston, Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s will take up post early in 2014.
“This is a proud day for both me and my family and I thank Queen’s University for choosing me to be its next President and Vice-Chancellor. I very much look forward to leading this distinguished institution and working alongside its exceptional staff and students,” Professor Johnston said.
A globally-recognised cancer specialist, Professor Johnston, born in 1958, has always been a high achiever. A past pupil of St Columb’s College, Derry, he received his MB BCh degree in Medicine with distinction from University College Dublin in 1982.
In 1987 he obtained a Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA, where he began further clinical training in Medical Oncology. He was promoted to senior investigator status at NCI in 1991.
In 1996 he was appointed Professor of Oncology at Queen’s, became the Director of its Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, and is currently Dean of Queen’s School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences. Here he has led the development of a new international Medical School and a world-leading Institute of Health Sciences.
Over the past 20 years his research has focused on the understanding of mechanisms of cancer resistance to therapeutic agents.
In 2012 there was significant recognition for his achievements. He accepted a Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Anniversary Prize from Her Majesty The Queen for the Queen’s University-led Comprehensive Cancer Centre and its success in reducing cancer mortality rates in Northern Ireland over the last decade - and he was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
And last week he was awarded the 2013 international Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Prize, honouring his pioneering work in translating discovery science for the benefit of cancer patients.
Professor Johnston was also appointed chair of the prestigious Translational Research Group of the Medical Research Council (MRC) in 2012. He currently serves on the Cancer Research UK (CR-UK) Science Executive/Advisory Board.
Originally from Derry, Professor Johnston is married with four grown-up sons and is the first internal candidate to be appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s since Sir Peter Froggatt in 1976.