List of Deans 1876 - present

The Dean's ProfileImage

George Britton Halford
1876 - 1886 and 1890 - 1896

George Halford was appointed head of the medical school at the University of Melbourne in 1862 and its first appointee to the Chair of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology. The medical school was the first in the southern dominions of the British Empire to provide medical training and conduct examinations.


Harry Brookes Allen
1886 - 1889 and 1897 - 1924

In 1880 while in his mid-twenties, University of Melbourne medical graduate and lecturer in anatomy and pathology, Harry Allen, was appointed Acting Dean of medicine while the Dean, George Halford, was in England. On Halford's return, the pair worked on a plan to divide the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology into two departments (Physiology, and Descriptive and Surgical Anatomy and Pathology). In 1882 Allen was given the title, Professor of Descriptive and Surgical Anatomy and Pathology leaving Halford with his first love, physiology.


Richard James Arthur Berry
1925 - 1929

Live-wire, 'Dicky' Berry, was appointed Professor of Anatomy at the University of Melbourne in 1906, remaining in the position until 1929. Dean from 1925 to 1927 and in 1929, Berry oversaw several major building projects and strongly supported the move of the Melbourne Hospital from central Melbourne to its current location in Parkville. He was active in medical circles and public affairs, a proponent of "the biological basis of mind" and advocated eugenic measures to improve humanity.


William Alexander Osborne
1929 - 1938

Dean William Alexander Osborne was a man of many parts, much admired for his breadth of knowledge and wide-ranging abilities, but also disliked for his cutting tongue, derogatory attitude to certain races, and eugenicist ideas. As an administrator and organiser he was well regarded and gave leadership in numerous revisions to the medical curriculum, in building renovations and in negotiatiations that eventually saw the medical buildings moved from the east to the south-west of the campus.


Peter MacCallum
1939 - 1943 and 1947 - 1949

Scottish-born and largely Scottish-trained Peter MacCallum was appointed Professor of Pathology at the University of Melbourne in 1925, succeeding Sir Harry Allan. He remained in the post until retiring in 1950 and was duly elected Professor Emeritus. He was Director of Clinical Studies for several years and Chairman of the College of Dentistry for over two decades. He was also influential in establishing professorial chairs in surgery and medicine at the University of Melbourne. After retiring in 1950 he continued his involvement with the University, serving as Convocation's representative on Council, a position he held until 1961.

Peter MacCallum

Robert Marshall Allan
1944 - 1945

Robert Marshall Allan was held in high regard both as a teacher and an administrator and was appointed Dean of Medicine for 1944 and 1945. He was described as "a man of fresh ideas, good opinions, and most important of all, he was a splendid and impressive teacher, who at all times would discuss a subject fully and quietly but firmly with the students, nurse or graduate in an endeavour to bring out the best in his auditors and to give them a confidence in their own ability to do good and useful works."


Roy Douglas Wright
1946 - 1946 and 1950 - 1952

Roy Douglas Wright was Professor of Physiology at the University of Melbourne from 1939 to 1971. At different times in his career he was Dean of the Faculties of Medicine (1946, 1950-1952) and of Veterinary Science (1945-1962). He played an important part in the establishment of the Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and Medicine at the University of Melbourne, as well as in the development of many other institutions including the Australian National University, the Cancer Institute/Peter MacCallum Clinic and the Australian Kidney Foundation.


Sydney Sunderland
1953 - 1971

During his time as Dean, Sydney Sunderland was an important influence on the development of the complex of medical buildings at the corner of Grattan St. and Royal Parade, Parkville in the 1960s. He also oversaw the establishment of clinical sciences buildings at the major teaching hospitals, the establishment of a Clinical School at the Austin Hospital, and an increased provision for professorial positions within the Faculty of Medicine.


Sydney Lance Townsend
1971 - 1977

Lance Townsend was appointed University of Melbourne Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1951, retaining the position until 1977. From 1971 to 1977 he was also Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. In 1978 he was appointed Assistant Vice-Chancellor of the University.


David Geoffrey Penington
1978 - 1985

After starting his medical studies at the University of Melbourne in 1948, David Penington won an Oxford Dominions Clinical Scholarship which enabled him to study at Oxford University. On returning to Melbourne in 1968, he was appointed First Assistant in the University of Melbourne Department of Medicine at St Vincent's Hospital. Further promotion followed in 1970 when he was appointed the University's Professor of Medicine at St Vincent's. He continued in the post until 1987, combining it with the role of Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1978 to 1985. From 1988 to 1995 he served as the University's Vice-Chancellor.


Graeme Bruce Ryan
1986 - 1995

Graeme Ryan had a long and close relationship with medicine at the University of Melbourne from the 1950s, when he started his medical training, to the 1990s when he completed a lengthy period of service as Dean. He was subsequently accorded the title Professor Emeritus.


Gordon James Aitken Clunie
1995 - 1997

Gordon Clunie was appointed University of Melbourne Professor of Surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Chairman of the Department of Surgery in 1978. He resigned in 1995 to take up an appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He retired in 1997 and the following year was elected Emeritus Professor of Surgery.


Richard Graeme Larkins
1998 - 2003

Richard Larkins' connection with medicine at the University of Melbourne spanned four decades, including medical training, Stewart Professor of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (1984-97) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences (1998-2003). During that time, he excelled in patient care, research and medical education.


James Alexander Angus
2003 - 2013

James Angus joined the University of Melbourne in 1993 when he was appointed to the Chair of Pharmacology and Head of the University of Melbourne Department of Pharmacology, positions he held for a decade before further promotion. In 2002 and 2003 he was appointed Acting Head of the University's Department of Pathology and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. In 2003 he was appointed Dean of the Faculty.

James Alexander Angus

Stephen Kevin Smith
2013 - 2015

Before taking up the deanship of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Professor Stephen Smith was Vice-President (Research) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, and founding Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a joint initiative of NTU and Imperial College, London. Prior to this, as Principal of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London he led the establishment of the first Academic Health Science Centre in the UK. The Centre's innovative approach to integrating research, education and clinical services led the way for the establishment of other centres across the UK. He holds an MBBS, MD and DSc from the University of London and an MA from the University of Cambridge. A gynaecologist by training, he also served the University of Cambridge as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, as the Clinical Director, Women's Services, at Addenbrooke's Hospital National Health Service Trust, and as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing at the University of Glasgow.

Professor Stephen Kevin Smith

Mark Hargreaves

Mark Hargreaves, Professor of Physiology at The University of Melbourne, led the Faculty of MDHS from December 2015 to October 2016. He achieved a lot during his short tenure before returning to a leadership role within Chancellery. Previous leadership roles at The University of Melbourne include Head of the Department of Physiology, Program Director, Bachelor of Biomedicine and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Partnerships. Prior to his appointment as Professor of Physiology in 2005, he was Professor of Exercise Physiology at Deakin University and was the inaugural Head of the Schools of Health Sciences and Exercise & Nutrition Sciences. He has BSc (Physiology) and PhD (Physiology) degrees from The University of Melbourne and an MA (Exercise Physiology) from Ball State University (USA). His research and teaching interests focus on the physiological and metabolic responses to acute and chronic exercise, with an emphasis on carbohydrate metabolism.

Shitij Kapur


Professor Shitij Kapur commenced as Dean of MDHS and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Health) in October 2016. He is a clinician-scientist with expertise in psychiatry, neuroscience and brain imaging. He trained as a Psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh, and undertook a PhD and Fellowship at the University of Toronto. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, similarly Board Certified in Canada and has a specialist medical license in the United Kingdom.

His former position was Executive Dean Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (loPPN). The 'Institute', also known as the 'the Maudsley', is Europe's largest and leading centre for mental health research established as the Maudsley Hospital in 1923. Prior to this role, he was Vice-President (Research) for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Toronto, a large hospital and university affiliated research institute, and Canada's premier centre for research into mental health and addictions. In 2007, he was recruited to lead the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King's College London, and after a spell as Vice-Dean Research assumed the role of Dean in 2010.

Jane Gunn


Professor Jane Gunn is a distinguished academic general practitioner and inaugural Chair of Primary Care Research at The University of Melbourne. Her trailblazing research has raised the profile and rigour of primary care research in Australia.

Jane commenced as Dean of MDHS in 2021 and was previously its Deputy Dean. Prior to that, Jane was the head of the Faculty’s Department of General Practice for a decade and Deputy Head of the Melbourne Medical School for two years.

Since beginning her academic career Jane has traversed the research-practice gap. She has played key leadership roles in reforming healthcare beginning with her work in shared maternity care (1992-2003) and cervical screening programs (1999-2006). Her research into the complex interplay between mental and physical health led to her appointment as Inaugural Visiting Professor to the Scottish School of Primary Care (2009-2012).

Her Diamond Cohort Study established one of the largest and longest running studies of people experiencing depressive symptoms in primary care and enabled better management of those at risk of persistent and disabling depression. This flagship research project has been funded continuously via NHMRC Project Grants and was featured in their 2021 10 of the Best showcase.

In 2016 she was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in recognition of her outstanding leadership in health and medical research.

In February 2020 Jane became the Chief Public Health Advisor for the University of Melbourne and was instrumental in steering its public health response to COVID-19.

Jane Gunn