Alison Yarrington has been appointed dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Hull. Professor Yarrington, an expert in sculpture, took a foundation course at Chesterfield College of Art and Design before moving into higher education. "I couldn't decide whether I wanted to go into art like the rest of my family or whether I wanted to go to university," she said. She gained her undergraduate degree in fine art and history of art at the University of Reading before undertaking a doctorate at Darwin College, Cambridge. Professor Yarrington was appointed to a lectureship in the history of art at the University of Leicester and rose to become dean of the Faculty of Arts. She was appointed Richmond chair and head of the department of art history at the University of Glasgow in 2003, where she is also honorary keeper of fine art for the Hunterian Gallery and Museums. Professor Yarrington said of her research interests: "I love the materials of sculpture, especially stone and marble. Just that transformational effect you can get, it's almost alchemic, creating an almost living presence out of something massive, inert and cold."
Gabor A. Somorjai
An academic who made his career in the US after being forced to leave his native country because of the pressures of two oppressive regimes has been awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge and Culture Award for basic sciences. Gabor A. Somorjai, university professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, was born in Budapest in 1935 and left Hungary with most of his family to escape the Nazi regime in 1944. He returned to study chemical engineering at the University of Budapest, only to leave the country once again in 1956 because of the Soviet Union's moves to quell the revolution in Hungary. He completed his PhD at Berkeley and moved into industry before coming back to academia. Professor Somorjai taught at the University of Bristol, Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University before returning to Berkeley. He said of his subject: "Everything is chemistry. The fact you are talking is a chemical process involving the neurons in your brain. Energy conversion is chemistry, too, and who can deny that our standard of living depends on pharmaceuticals and other processing industries."
A medic who has facilitated better patient care as well as financial savings by applying information technology and electronic medical record systems to the needs of doctors and patients has had his work recognised with a national award in the US. Michael Zaroukian, professor of medicine at Michigan State University, has been awarded the 2010 Physician IT Leadership Award from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. He explained that his work was particularly important during an era of austerity. "We are putting the patient at the centre of care, using this system to improve quality while helping to eliminate waste and waiting," he said. Professor Zaroukian studied for an undergraduate degree in microbiology at the University of Michigan before moving to Michigan State for his MD and PhD. He has remained with the university ever since, and took up his present position in 2007. He said that, despite the increasing use of IT in medical administration, many still resisted the technology. "The vast majority of physicians I have encountered who are regularly using electronic medical records and other IT solutions would not be willing to go back to using paper charts," he said. "The value of being able to access any chart online in seconds - to have the information needed to care for patients anywhere and anytime, to get results as soon as they are available, to be able to get reminders to help deliver the care patients need and to be able to share the chart among multiple users at the same time - is immediate and compelling."
The University of New South Wales has appointed Christopher Poulos founding chair of positive ageing and care. Professor Poulos, who is senior lecturer in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the university, will be bringing together community, residential and sub-acute hospital care under one roof. The overall aim is to develop specialist programmes with a broad focus on health maintenance, restoration and care for older Australians, maximising their quality of life at home and avoiding hospital admissions. Professor Poulos received his degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Sydney and also studied for a master's degree in health policy and management. He is a Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. He said he was eager to start work. "What really excites me is the opportunity to develop new person-centred models of care," he said. "We need to focus on wellness and on helping people maintain their independence, abilities and quality of life as they get older."
The University of Surrey has appointed Marie Breen-Smyth to a chair in international politics. She was previously director of the Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Contemporary Political Violence at Aberystwyth University.
Nigel Weatherill is to be the next vice-chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University. He is currently pro vice-chancellor and head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham.
Canterbury Christ Church University has appointed David Smith pro vice-chancellor, external relations. He is currently senior account director for the Skills Funding Agency operation across the South East. Mark Wilson, head of international recruitment and retention at Birkbeck, University of London, will become head of the international office. Sue Kendall-Seatter, head of the university's department of primary education, is the new director of partnerships.
Carl May has moved to the University of Southampton to take up the post of professor of healthcare innovation and director of research. He joins from Newcastle Medical School.
Jill Maben has been appointed director of the National Nursing Research Unit at King's College London. Dr Maben was senior research Fellow and deputy director of the unit.
Aston University has appointed Corinne Spickett, senior lecturer at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, to a readership in biochemistry, and Andrew Pitt, former director of the Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility and the Doctoral Training Centre in Proteomic Technologies at the University of Glasgow, to the chair of pharmaceutical chemistry and chemical biology.