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Laurence Pearl to step down as Head of School of Life Sciences

Professor Laurence Pearl

Professor Laurence Pearl FRS is to step down as the Head of the School of Life Sciences from the beginning of August.

After more than eight years in the role, the award-winning academic - who recently won one of the UK’s most prestigious honours in biochemistry - is to stand down from the position to focus fully on his vital research into DNA damage and repair.

Professor Pearl, who was recently awarded the prestigious Novartis Medal and Prize 2018 and has received a new five-year research grant from Cancer Research UK, has led the School of Life Sciences to distinction - with outstanding league table rankings in both research and teaching and a new state-of-the-art building to open in 2020.

Professor Sarah Guthrie, who is currently Deputy Head, will become acting Head of School.

Professor Pearl said: “It has been a pleasure and an honour to lead Life Sciences during such an exciting time in the University’s history.

"I will be handing the School on in a very robust state, with outstanding league table rankings in research and teaching, a fantastic new building coming in 2020, and a real sense of confidence and common purpose amongst the academic and professional services staff, across the broad range of our activities and interests.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had a great team of colleagues and graduate students in my laboratory in the Genome Damage and Stability Centre. Their commitment and enthusiasm has enabled us to sustain an international research profile while I have been so busy with the many tasks of a Head of School, and I am really delighted that Cancer Research UK have just awarded us a further five years of Programme Grant funding.

"We have some extremely exciting projects on the go and I will be focussing very strongly on my research over the next few years, but will continue to contribute to teaching – including leading the incorporation of computer programming skills into our syllabus – and will continue to represent the interests of the School for the new Life Sciences Building.

“I’d like to thank all my colleagues in the School for their support and hard work over the last eight years, and for buying into the ‘vision’ that has brought us to such a strong position in UK academia.”

Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell, said: “Laurence has left an indelible mark on the School and helped to drive an outstanding reputation for Life Sciences in the sector both in the UK and internationally.

"By returning the ethos of the School to John Maynard Smith’s vision of collaborative science and through his creative thinking, Laurence has contributed significantly to the School’s profile. 

"In his new role, Laurence will also be spending some time teaching and will continue to represent the School as we build a new Life Sciences estate over the next three years.”


By: Lynsey Ford
Last updated: Friday, 1 September 2017