The leading academic who has overseen the expansion of world-leading medical research at the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for the past nine years is stepping down. Professor Keith Channon will be replaced as Director of the Oxford BRC by Professor Helen McShane, a leading vaccine specialist.
Prof Channon was appointed to lead the BRC, one of the National Institute of Health Research’s largest research centres, in 2009. He has overseen two successful bids for government funding to carry out research that benefits NHS patients: for £95.5m in 2012; and £113.7m for the period from 2017 to 2022, to support research across 20 medical themes.
The NIHR Oxford BRC is based at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust and run in partnership with the University of Oxford.
Prof Channon, a leading cardiologist, will continue in his role of Director of Research and Development for OUH, and take up a new role as Deputy Head of the University’s Medical Sciences Division for Research.
“I am proud of the fact that our BRC has consistently been rewarded for its excellence with increased funding. This is in recognition of the world class research that is done here and that is having real tangible benefits for patients across a wide range of medical fields.
“I am confident that Helen will be able to play her part in maintaining Oxford’s position at the forefront of global medical research.”
Prof McShane is Professor of Vaccinology in the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, based at the Jenner Institute, and is an Honorary Consultant Physician in HIV and genito-urinary medicine at the Oxford University Hospitals. She is a previous Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow with an international reputation in clinical research and clinical trials in TB infection and vaccines. She has been an important contributor to the Oxford BRCs Vaccines Theme, and was awarded a BRC Principal Fellowship in 2016.
Prof McShane said: “It is a great honour to have been appointed to lead the Oxford BRC and am very excited about taking up this pivotal role for medical research in Oxford. Keith has been an outstanding champion of the BRC’s research and I am looking forward to taking up the baton from him.
“I have a background in translational medicine in the field of vaccine development and have a real passion for ensuring that the research we do leads to real benefits for patients. It is a real privilege, then, to be in a position where I can help to make this happen.”
Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford University Hospitals, said: “Keith’s diligence and vision have ensured that Oxford has remained a hub of medical innovation with one of the largest clinical trial portfolios in the UK. I would like to thank him for all his immense contribution to making our hospitals a centre of research excellence.
“We are the only BRC to have successively increased our funding, and that’s a reflection of the world-leading innovation that takes place here in disciplines as diverse as cancer, diabetes, genetics, microbiology, neuroscience or big data. Keith has done a fantastic job in coordinating that research and ensuring that the relationship between academics and clinicians remains vibrant and strong.”
He continued: “Prof McShane’s appointment as the new BRC Director will assure that the Oxford BRC remains at the forefront of basic science and patient-based clinical research, and that we continue to develop our Hospital-University partnership to achieve both research excellence and benefits for patients.”