University of Melbourne welcomes Professor Ken Smith as Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Chair in Medical Biology

Professor Ken Smith, Director of WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research), has recently joined the University of Melbourne as one of three professorial chairs supported by The Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust.

Professor Ken Smith, Director of the WEHI

The Trust supports collaborative research programs across Melbourne’s biomedical precinct in Parkville.

Professor Smith will lead a group focused on factors governing human immune responsiveness, particularly in the context of primary immune deficiency and autoimmune diseases. His group will collaborate closely with Galli Chairs. Professor Smith is an esteemed alum of the University of Melbourne, having completed both his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery and his Doctor of Philosophy through the University. His PhD was completed under the supervision of former WEHI director Sir Gustav Nossal AC and Professor David Tarlinton.

In his 30-year career as both a clinician and researcher, Professor Smith has been recognised for his innovative research and its impact on health outcomes for patients.

He returns to Australia from the UK, where his most recent appointment was as the Head of the Department of Medicine at Cambridge University, a position he held from 2010.

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne Professor Jane Gunn said:

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Professor Doug Hilton, who, as The Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Chair in Medical Biology, has overseen a program of foundational research into brain development disorders and next-generation cancer genomics research. We are thrilled to welcome Professor Ken Smith, a clinician and researcher of such a high calibre, as the next Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Chair in Medical Biology. I am confident that Professor Smith will continue the exceptional collaborative leadership that the Galli Chairs bring to our health and biomedical precinct.”

Having commenced as Director of WEHI in April, Professor Smith says he looks forward to reconnecting with the University of Melbourne:

“Collaboration is so important when it comes to accelerating research outcomes, and I’m looking forward to advancing the work of our research team at WEHI, in partnership with the University of Melbourne and our precinct partners.

“I am excited about being able to continue this patient-focused research at WEHI and the University of Melbourne and continuing collaborations with partners. This collaborative work, bridging the clinic strengths of the Royal Melbourne Hospital with WEHI laboratory expertise promises to impact the quality of life of patients and their families with a diverse range of conditions.”

He also expressed gratitude for The Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust’s philanthropic support:

“Something that’s unique about the generous funding from the Galli Medical Research Trust is that it’s given in perpetuity. It’s rare in the research world to be able to secure long-term funding for projects. Usually, researchers need to apply for funding periodically to keep their projects running, which is not only time-consuming but can be really limiting on the research.”

“The research that we’re collaborating on with the University of Melbourne, Peter Mac and the Royal Children’s Hospital is at the cutting-edge, and therefore can be perceived as high-risk for funding bodies. We are extremely grateful to the Galli Medical Research Trust for its visionary philanthropic investment in the future of medical research.”

Find out more about The Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust.

Read more about Professor Ken Smith on the WEHI website.