Cancer specialist takes over at Queen’s

Prof Patrick Johnston becomes 12th vice-chancellor in university’s 168-year history

Prof Patrick Johnston said it was his goal for Queen’s to become “an international powerhouse in higher education”.

Prof Patrick Johnston said it was his goal for Queen’s to become “an international powerhouse in higher education”.

Mon, Mar 3, 2014, 01:00

Prof Patrick Johnston takes over as president and vice-chancellor of Queen’s University, Belfast, today.

Prof Johnston, formerly dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s is one of the world’s top cancer research specialists.

He becomes the 12th vice-chancellor in the university’s 168-year history.

Speaking about his plans for the university, Prof Johnston said it was his goal for Queen’s to become “an international powerhouse in higher education” a move he said would benefit not just Queen’s but Northern Ireland generally.

Originally from Derry, Prof Johnston received his MB BCh degree in medicine with distinction from UCD in 1982. He is married with four adult sons.

Since 2007, he has led the development of a new international medical school at Queen’s and its institute of health sciences. Prof Johnston is also former director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s.

Mortality rates

In 2012, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. In the same year, he received a Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the university’s leadership of the Comprehensive Cancer Centre and its achievement in reducing cancer mortality rates in Northern Ireland over the past decade.

A past pupil of St Columb’s College, Derry, in 1987 he obtained a Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA, where he began further clinical training in medical oncology.