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University appoints next Dean of Pharmacy


Tuesday 9 February 2010 2:57pm

Stephen DuffullA leading researcher has been appointed as the next Dean of the University of Otago’s School of Pharmacy.

Professor Stephen Duffull will take up his new role at the end of May, when Professor Ian Tucker completes his term as Dean. Currently the School’s Associate Dean of Postgraduate Professional Programmes, Professor Duffull joined the University in 2006 when he was appointed to the new Chair in Clinical Pharmacy.

His research focuses on pharmacometrics, which is the science of measuring how drugs act within the body. The overarching goal of his research is to enable doses to be individualised to meet patients’ needs.

Announcing the appointment, Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg said that Professor Stephen Duffull is an ideal person to lead the School of Pharmacy.

“As an excellent researcher and a first-rate teacher, Professor Duffull brings many valuable skills and qualities to this position.

“He has succeeded in gaining research grants from major overseas funding bodies and established important international collaborations. Professor Duffull has also supervised numerous postgraduate students and was recently a finalist in the Otago University Students’ Association Teacher of the Year awards.”

Originally from Christchurch, Professor Duffull was a practising pharmacist from the mid 1980s until 1997, employed mainly in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Christchurch Hospital.

Since obtaining his Master of Clinical Pharmacy and PhD degrees from Otago in the 1990s, he has published numerous research papers and received a number of awards, including the Johnson and Johnson Young Investigators Award in 2000.

Before returning to Otago, Professor Duffull was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland. Alongside his current position, Professor Duffull is also an adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland.

Professor Duffull says that he is looking forward to taking up the position of Dean of Pharmacy.

“Since joining the School, I have been very impressed by its vibrant research culture and the highly collegial and supportive atmosphere it provides for staff and students.

“My goal is to nurture this environment so that the School maintains and enhances its position as the national leader in undergraduate pharmacy education, postgraduate professional programmes and pharmacy-related research.”

Professor Duffull says that a major focus of his role will be to work closely with the School’s senior staff so that the School achieves its greatest potential in research and education.

“Another key focus will be ensuring that the School maintains its close links with the New Zealand pharmacy profession and that our teaching programmes keep pace and help lead the sector’s evolving needs.”

The School will continue to enhance its undergraduate and postgraduate professional programmes, Professor Duffull says.

“Our aim is to equip the pharmacy workforce with the most up-to-date skills and knowledge available so that, as their roles develop, pharmacists can carry on providing excellent services to the public.”

Pharmacy at Otago will also seek to further develop its already strong research programme, he says.

“Staff at the School are engaged in excellent research. We have internationally recognised strengths across the areas of pharmaceutical science, clinical pharmacy, social pharmacy and, increasingly, in the biopharmaceutical sciences.”

As well as working to support staff to expand their research, the School also hopes to increase the number of Pharmacy PhD students. There are already 35 PhD students in the School, he says.

Health Sciences Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Don Roberton warmly welcomed Professor Duffull’s appointment as Dean.

“It is very pleasing that a researcher and teacher of Professor Duffull’s calibre has been selected to lead the School of Pharmacy, which is a key part of the Health Sciences at Otago.”

The Vice-Chancellor and Professor Roberton both said that they wished to acknowledge and thank current Dean Professor Ian Tucker for his excellent leadership of the School since 1999.

“Professor Tucker’s invaluable contributions have seen our pharmacy education and research programmes grow from strength to strength during his tenure,” Professor Roberton says.

For more information, contact

Simon Ancell
Communications Adviser
University of Otago
Tel 03 479 5016


About the School of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy offers an accredited Bachelor of Pharmacy degree programme, which leads to the registrable qualification for pharmacy practice. The four-year programme has an annual intake of 120 New Zealand entrants and from 2010 will accept up to 30 additional international students sponsored by the New Zealand or foreign governments and privately sponsored overseas students. It has also signed an agreement with the International Medical University to accept a limited number of students into the third year of a two-plus-two articulated programme.

The School of Pharmacy also provides postgraduate professional programmes: Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacy (endorsed in Medicines Management), Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy, and a Master of Clinical Pharmacy.

These programmes are undertaken part-time by practising pharmacists who are located in towns and cities throughout New Zealand. Instruction is via audioconferencing, increasingly through the Internet, and through face-to-face contact at course workshops. In addition to these professional postgraduate programmes, the School offers Master of Pharmacy and PhD research programmes which are taken mainly by full-time students on the Dunedin campus.

The School has an active research programme with internal and external postgraduate students studying for PhD degrees. There is also a research dissertation component of the Master of Clinical Pharmacy programme.