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New Dean for University of Otago’s Christchurch campus

Christchurch campus

Tuesday 17 May 2016 4:14pm

David Murdoch image
Professor David Murdoch

Professor David Murdoch has been selected as the next Dean of the University of Otago’s Christchurch campus. He will replace incumbent Dean, Professor Peter Joyce, who retires in September.

The infectious diseases expert is currently head of one the campus' largest departments – Pathology. This department is home to many world-renowned research groups and involved in the teaching of fourth to sixth year medical students.

Professor Murdoch has been involved in some of the most significant infectious disease research projects here and overseas. Projects include a global childhood pneumonia study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a New Zealand-wide Legionnaire's disease surveillance programme.

He also works for the Canterbury District Health Board as a microbiologist. Professor Murdoch has been a Canterbury DHB staff member for more than two decades and will continue his part-time role as a microbiologist after becoming Dean.

Professor Murdoch earned his medical degree from the University of Otago, then specialised in infectious diseases and microbiology. These specialities, and later research projects, were in part influenced by time spent in Nepal as a young doctor, where he saw people dying or hospitalized from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Professor Murdoch is a strong advocate of researchers and organisations working together to achieve greater and mutually-beneficial outcomes. He is one of the leaders of One Health Aotearoa, which is an alliance between researchers working at the interface between human, animal and environmental health. It includes the University of Otago’s medical schools and Massey University’s veterinary school.

Professor Murdoch says he is honoured to be selected as Dean of the Christchurch campus.

“I have been very proud to work at the University of Otago’s Christchurch health campus for the past 16 years, and excited to become its Dean. We have a real strength in producing health research at the Christchurch campus. A large part of this success is due to collaborations with the Canterbury District Health Board, with its doctors and nurses working closely with scientists on clinical studies. We are also now part of a wider Canterbury health community with the establishment and evolution of the Health Precinct. University of Otago, Christchurch, researchers and teachers collaborate on a global scale. I am keen to grow this global perspective in my time as Dean.”

Current Dean Professor Joyce says Professor Murdoch will make an excellent Dean.

“David will further enhance the campus’ international reputation as a centre for health research and education. As he has held key leadership positions within the Canterbury District Health Board, and as Head of the University Department of Pathology, David will be ideally placed to further enhance our partnership agreement and working relationships with the CDHB.”

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says she is delighted with the appointment.

“Professor Murdoch has been in a leadership role as the Head of the University’s Department of Pathology in Christchurch for many years. He is a highly-regarded researcher, clinician and leader. The Department is home to many internationally-recognised research groups, and is involved in the teaching of medical students. I am sure that under Professor Murdoch’s leadership the University of Otago, Christchurch, will grow in strength as a place of world-class health research and education.”

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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