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Chair's biography

Professor Sir Gordon Duff - MA, BM BCh, PhD, MD (Hon), FFPM(Hon), FBSPharmacol (Hon), FRCP(Lon), FRCP(Edin), FMedSci, FRSE

Principal, St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford and Chair, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Professor Sir Gordon Duff

Gordon Duff studied Medicine at Oxford and St Thomas' Hospital, London, where he also gained a PhD in Neuropharmacology. Following postgraduate medical training, he held junior faculty posts at Yale Medical School and the Howard Hughes Institute of Molecular Immunology. He joined Edinburgh Medical School in 1984, and in 1990 became Florey Professor of Molecular Medicine at Sheffield where he was also Faculty Research Dean and Director of the Division of Genomic Medicine. For two years he was Chair of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency before taking up his current post as Principal of St Hilda’s College in University of Oxford. With interests in inflammation, cytokines, biomedicines and genetics, he has published many research articles and patents in these areas, as well as government reports on medicines and their regulation.

He was founding editor of the international research journal CYTOKINE, advisory editor to the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) journal, and is Past-President of the International Cytokine Society. He was Knighted for services to Public Health in 2007, and listed in the ‘Top 100’ working scientists in the UK Science Council’s list for 2014.


He has served on many Strategy Advisory Boards in the UK, EU and the US. Previously Chair of the UK's Committee on Safety of Medicines and its Biologicals and Vaccines Sub-committee, he was inaugural Chair of the UK's Commission on Human Medicines (2005-2012). He was Chair of the Secretary-of-State's Expert Scientific Group on Phase One Clinical Trials following the 2006 disaster at Northwick Park. From 2002 to 2009 he was Chair of the UK's National Biological Standards Board, overseeing the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, including the National Stem Cell Bank. He is an advisor on Biological Medicines to the EU, and was Chair of the UK's Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee. In 2009, he was appointed Co-Chair of the UK Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). In 2010 he reported on the UK's Organ Donor Register (Secretary-of-State). He is an Honorary Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford, and currently chairs the Academic Health Science Centres of Imperial College London, and Trinity College, Dublin.