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Report of the General Board on the establishment of a Professorship of Respiratory Biology

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. Respiratory disease is one of the most common causes of emergency admission to hospital and also of disease in the community. The clinical practice of respiratory medicine is based on knowledge of the normal physiology of lung function and the factors involved in the pathogenesis of respiratory disorders. Recent advances in the understanding of the pathophysiological basis of lung disease are leading to new approaches to therapy, including the gene therapy of inherited disorders, and approaches based on the understanding of disease at a structural biological level. The Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine consider that the Clinical School is well placed for the further development of research and teaching in respiratory medicine; a University Lectureship in the subject was established in 1994, and in 1997 a Professorship of Respiratory Medicine was established with funding provided by the Addenbrooke's and Papworth NHS Trusts.

2. A major element of the Clinical School's strategic plan is to link research in the areas of genetics, structural biology, and immunology, all of which are major themes of research in the new building on the Island Site, with application to the management of important clinical problems. Opportunities for linking basic biological research with its application to clinical problems exist in several areas of respiratory disease. These include the areas of genetic disorders associated with structural disease of the lung, the structural biology of proteins associated with normal and disordered lung function, and the immunological and pharmacological basis of asthma.

3. The Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine have represented to the General Board that the establishment of a Professorship in the field of biological science applied to respiratory medicine would build on the School's strengths in this field. The holder of such a Professorship would provide leadership in linking basic biological research in the School with clinical practice and in developing further a programme of research and teaching in respiratory medicine. There is a requirement for the teaching of respiratory medicine to clinical medical students, in addition to postgraduate teaching of the discipline to junior hospital doctors, and for the provision of continuing medical education in the field to all hospital doctors.

4. The General Board have accepted the case made by the Faculty Board. Funds have been made available by the Anglia and Oxford Health Executive, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, and Papworth NHS Trust to meet the full cost of the establishment of a Professorship at Consultant level. Should the NHS financial support cease prematurely, the cost of the office would be met by the Faculty Board from within existing resources, ahead of any new developments or the filling of vacant offices. The General Board are assured that suitable accommodation for the Professor is available and that the necessary support and facilities can be provided. The Board are satisfied that an appointment at this level will be likely to attract a strong field of well-qualified candidates. Papworth and Addenbrooke's NHS Trusts have agreed to award honorary Consultant contracts to the Professor and to provide access to beds and clinical facilities.

5. The General Board accordingly propose that a Professorship of Respiratory Biology should be established in the University for a single tenure from 1 January 1999, and assigned to the Department of Medicine. They have agreed to concur in the view of the Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine that an election to the Professorship should be made by an ad hoc Board of Electors and that candidature should be limited to persons whose work falls within fields of study applicable to respiratory diseases.

 6. The General Board recommend:

  That a Professorship of Respiratory Biology be established for one tenure from 1 January 1999, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Medicine.

20 May 1998


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Cambridge University Reporter, 28 May 1998
Copyright © 1998 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.