A former student of the University of Toronto has been appointed as its assistant vice-president (alumni relations). Barbara Dick graduated from University College at Toronto in 1987, having studied for a degree in arts and science. "My experience as a student at Toronto profoundly altered and shaped me as a young person, so I have a very personal perspective on the transformative power of education," she said. "My belief in Toronto's mission is the fuel that keeps my passion ignited." Ms Dick, who has worked in alumni relations for nearly two decades, was previously executive director of alumni affairs at Toronto, a role she had held since 2005. Between 1995 and 1997, she sat on the board of the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education. In her new role, she hopes to create "the most loyal, engaged, supportive alumni group in the world", Ms Dick said. "We want to inspire our alumni to have pride in and awareness of the impact they and their fellow alumni make in Canada and around the world. That's why a big part of my job is helping to tell the alumni story - both within the university and beyond."
A scholar has been recognised for his long-term contribution to cancer research. Roger Reddel, Sir Lorimer Dods professor at the University of Sydney and director of the Children's Medical Research Institute, was honoured as the Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year at the Cancer Institute New South Wales Premier's Awards. Professor Reddel studied for his medical degree at Sydney and trained in oncology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He went on to complete a doctorate at Sydney's Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research before receiving two fellowships that allowed him to undertake postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. Professor Reddel works in the area of "cell immortalisation" - the unlimited ability of cancer cells to reproduce. Such research may in the future help the diagnosis of cancer, he said. "We expect that detecting tell-tale signs of cellular immortalisation will be helpful as a diagnostic test for early detection of cancer, when it is usually easier to cure." Professor Reddel added that he was "honoured" to receive the award and stressed that his colleagues and students made a key contribution to his work.
An academic whose work on climate change led to her being dubbed one of the "brave thinkers of our time" has been appointed National Marine Aquarium chair in the public understanding of marine science and human health at the University of Plymouth. Camille Parmesan originally worked in the field of evolutionary behaviour. She had just finished work on her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin when, "on a whim", she applied for a Nasa grant for the Mission to Planet Earth project on butterfly range shifts. She explained: "I could get funding for several years of camping out in beautiful mountain meadows and travelling from Mexico to Canada, plus I knew about this butterfly so it was something I could do well." The change in research direction led her into the area of climate change. "I switched from evolutionary behaviour to ecology and I've never really looked back," Professor Parmesan said. She undertook the research at the University of California, Santa Barbara and moved back to Texas to become an assistant professor in integrative biology. She was promoted to associate professor in 2006. Her work in climate change, she said, "came at the right time" and resulted in her receiving invitations to dine at the White House as well as a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for her work as lead author of the International Panel on Climate Change's fourth assessment report.
For Jon Scott, academic director of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology at the University of Leicester, teaching comes first. Dr Scott, who has been awarded the title of 2011 UK Bioscience Teacher of the Year, has been working with staff and students to ensure that both sides share the same expectations and awareness of feedback. He said that one of the joys of teaching was helping to keep a field thriving: "It's important and it's satisfying to make sure that the subject is continued by students who become interested in the field," he said. "There's something really powerful about enthusing students, getting them to learn and seeing the light dawn when they've understood something." Dr Scott, who began at Leicester as lecturer in physiology, said that his own passion for the biological sciences stemmed from his childhood. "I've always been interested in how things work. My father was an engineer, and I guess physiology is the bioscience side of engineering, if you like: seeing how bodies work, what happens when things go wrong and how they can be put right." He became director of biological sciences at Leicester in 1998 and took up his current role in 2009.
Helen Atkinson, professor of engineering and head of the Mechanics of Materials Group at the University of Leicester, has been elected president of the Engineering Professors' Council. She is the first female president in the council's history.
The University of Wolverhampton has made Ann Holmes deputy vice-chancellor. Professor Holmes is currently pro vice-chancellor (quality assurance and enhancement) and dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Law and Social Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University.
King's College London has appointed Gino Martini to lead a new research group as professor of pharmaceutical innovation. Professor Martini is currently senior director of pre-clinical and pharmaceutical development for emerging markets and Asia Pacific at GlaxoSmithKline. He is a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.
Liz Bromley, director of student life at the University of Salford, and Gillian Jack, director of student services at the University of Glamorgan, have been re-elected vice-chairs of AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation. Ms Bromley is vice-chair for operations and Dr Jack has responsibility for finance.
Dianne Thompson, chief executive of Camelot, which runs the National Lottery, has been installed as chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University.
Christina Slade has been appointed vice-chancellor of Bath Spa University. Professor Slade is currently dean of the schools of arts and social sciences at City University London.