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Gordon Duff

Honorary NDORMS Senior Research Fellow

Gordon studied Medicine at Oxford University and St Thomas's Hospital, London, where he also gained a PhD in thermoregulation/fever. Following postgraduate medical training posts (inc Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital), he held junior faculty posts at Yale Medical School (1980-84) Infectious Diseases and Pathology (Immunology) Depts), and the Howard Hughes Institute of Molecular Immunology at Yale. He joined Edinburgh Medical School in 1984, heading the Molecular Immunology Group, and in 1990 became the inaugural Florey Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Sheffield, where he became Faculty Research Dean, Member of University Council, and Director of the Division of Genomic Medicine. With interests in inflammation, immunology, cytokines, therapeutics, biomedicines, public health and genetics, he has published ~ 400 research articles, govt reports and ~40 biotech patents.

He was Knighted for services to the Public Health in the 2006-7, and in 2014 was listed in the Science Council’s ‘Top 100 working scientists in the UK’.  From an early intrest in mechanisms of fever, his subsequent research pioneered and established the role of cytokines such as IL-1 and TNF in human inflammatory diseases. In 2016 he received The Sir James Black Award of the British Pharmacological Society for the ‘Original Identification of TNF as a Therapeutic Target in Human Arthritis’.  He is Past-President of the International Cytokine Society and has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield. He was co-founding editor of the international research journal 'CYTOKINE', advisory editor to the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) Journal. He has given the Croonian Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians of London, Weatherall Lecture at Univ of Oxford, Harry Bostrom Medal Lecture at Karolinska Institute,  and Faculty Lecture at University of Geneva. He has lectured extensively at many international universities, professional societies and govt agencies, including NIH, FDA, NCI (USA), Institut Pasteur (France), Biopolis (Singapore), Paul Ehrlich Institute (Germany),  Sanger Centre (Cambridge), Trinity College (Dublin), Royal Society of Medicine (London).

Advisory / Leadership

He served on many SABs and funding panels in UK, EU and US, including MRC, EPSRC, Govt Foresight Groups (inc as Chair), and Wellcome Trust.  Previously Chair of the UK’s statutory Committee on Safety of Medicines, he was inaugural Chair of the UK's Commission on Human Medicines (CHM, 2005-2012) before becoming Chair of  MHRA Board (2012-14, regulator of all medicines and medical devices in UK). He was Chair of the Secretary-of-State's Expert Scientific Group on Phase One Clinical Trials following a clinical trial disaster in 2006 (TGN1412, the report made 22 recommendations to improve safety of first-in-human clinical trials). From 2002 to 2009 he was Chair of the UK's ‘National Biological Standards Board’, overseeing the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC, WHO Centre), including setting up the National Stem Cell Bank, vCJD reagent repository and supplying  >90% of the world’s biological standards for diagnostics, biological medicines and vaccines. He was an advisor on Biological Medicines to the EU, and was Chair of the UK's Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee (2006-10). In 2009-10, he co-chaired the UK  Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to tackle the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, including rapid procurement and distribution of antivirals, the approval of a specific vaccine, and setting up a clinical data group.  In 2010, he was asked to review the UK's Organ Donor Register, correcting coding errors.  From 2015-2019 he was Chair of the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) overseeing launch of the new Pirbright Institute for Animal Health. He chaired the Strategic Boards of the Academic Health Sciences Centres of Imperial College (2013-17), and Trinity College Dublin 2013-2020), and the MRC/NIHR National Phenome Centre.  He was Principal of St Hilda’s College, Oxford (2014-2021), a Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Board member of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division, and is Hon Fellow of both St Peter's and St Hilda’s Colleges in Oxford. He is currently a Board member of the UK Foundation for Science and Technology, and of UBC Vancouver’s Translational Medicine Board. He is President of ‘United in Diversity Foundation’ (focus on UN’s Sustainable Development Goals), Hon Senior Research Fellow of NDORMS (Oxford Medical School),  Chair of the Climax Steering Group for Therapeutic Innovation, and Chair of the International SAB of Silence Therapeutics Ltd (developing siRNA gene silencing medicines).