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UCL appoints new Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences

Publication date: Sep 22, 2006 1:21:03 PM

UCL President and Provost Professor Malcolm Grant today announced the appointment of Professor Edward Byrne as Executive Dean of the new UCL Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and Head of the Medical School, with effect from early 2007. Professor Byrne is currently Dean of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences at Monash University, Australia.

The post will lead the new faculty, formed on 1 August 2006, arising from the merger of the former UCL Faculty of Clinical Sciences with the postgraduate medical research institutes at UCL – the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, the UCL Institute of Child Health, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and the UCL Institute of Neurology – as well as the UCL Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research. The new faculty has almost 2,000 academic and research staff.

Professor Byrne said: “I am extremely excited to come to UCL, as I feel it is in a better position than any other university in Europe to make a contribution towards increasing knowledge in medical science over the next decade. I am coming from the most exciting medical university in Australia to the most exhilarating environment in the UK."

The appointment marks a return to London for Professor Byrne, who spent 1980–1982 at Queen Square – home to the UCL Institute of Neurology and its associated teaching hospital, the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery – as Muscular Dystrophy Research Fellow. During this time he was awarded the Queen Square Prize.

Professor Byrne is a pioneering neuroscientist, combining an active clinical career with an outstanding contribution to basic neurological research. He began his career in Adelaide after graduating from the University of Tasmania in 1974. He was made Neurology Registrar at Adelaide Hospital in 1978. Upon returning to Australia in 1983, he was appointed Director of Neurology at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, becoming Professor/Director in 1992. In 1995 Melbourne University awarded him a Doctorate of Science.

Professor Byrne was a founding director of the Melbourne Neuromuscular Research Unit and the Centre for Neuroscience. He was also made Professor of Experimental Neurology at the University of Melbourne. He has carried out pioneering research into neuromuscular disorders, is recognised worldwide for research into disorders in the mitochondrial DNA and played a role in the discovery of mitochondrial links to ageing. In 2006 he was honoured with induction as an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Professor Grant said: “I am delighted that Ed Byrne will be joining UCL. This a critically important post, given UCL’s commitment to refining and building upon its world-class biomedical sciences, the way in which funding for health-related teaching and research is changing and the imminent relocation to UCL of the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research. Professor Byrne will bring real skills and talents to help us address these radical challenges.”

Professor Byrne will take over from Acting Executive Dean Professor Mike Spyer, upon his appointment to the new post of Vice-Provost (Enterprise). Professor Grant also announced the recent appointment of Professor Chris Boshoff as Director of the new UCL Cancer Institute.