UCD Medicine Alumnus Appointed as University President
We offer our congratulations to Professor Des Fitzgerald who has been announced as the next President, University of Limerick (UL) succeeding Professor Don Barry whose term of office ends in April 2017. Prof Fitzgerald will become the fourth UCD Medicine alumnus to hold the top office in a leading University after Professor Philip Nolan (NUI, Maynooth), Professor Patrick Johnston (Queen’s University Belfast) and Professor Hugh Brady (University of Bristol).
Professor Fitzgerald is currently UCD Vice President for Health Affairs and inaugural Chief Academic Officer, Ireland East Hospital Group. He previously served as Vice President Research at UCD (2004 – 2014) and has held senior leadership roles including Director of Research and Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He played a pivotal role the transformation of UCD’s research performance in competitive, internationally-judged research programmes funded by the EU, PRTLI and Science Foundation Ireland. Achievements include the establishment of the UCD Science Centre, the National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training, the National Digital Research Centre, and the UCD Charles Institute for Dermatology Research and Training, while also securing national leadership for UCD in EU FP7 funding.
His term as President of UL will commence on 1 May, 2017 when he will succeed Professor Don Barry whose term of office ends in April 2017. Speaking of the appointment, the Chancellor of the University of Limerick, Mr. Justice John Murray said:
“I am delighted to welcome Professor Fitzgerald as the next President of UL. He is a widely-respected scholar and leader in the academic world, with an enviable international research reputation and unrivalled experience gained at strategic levels in a number of highly-ranked universities.
Professor Fitzgerald said:
“I am honoured to lead UL during the next phase. I look forward to working with colleagues and partners to secure a strong national and international academic profile. I want UL to establish and lead pioneering initiatives that will deliver real impact in a range of important areas that are critical to Ireland’s future and the future of the Mid West”.
Professor Fitzgerald graduated from the UCD School of Medicine with an MB BCh BAO degree in 1977, was conferred with an MD degree by University College Dublin in 1994, and subsequently completed training in Cardiology and Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in the US. He has also held positions as Consultant Lecturer in Medicine and Therapeutics at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and UCD, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology at Beaumont Hospital and Visiting Cardiologist at the National Maternity Hospital. In 2004, he was appointed UCD Vice-President for Research and Professor of Molecular Medicine and subsequently was appointed College Principal, UCD College of Health Sciences. He is currently Vice President for Health Affairs and is the inaugural Chief Academic Officer of Ireland East Hospital Group.
Professor Fitzgerald is a well-respected clinical academic in translational medicine and entrepreneur having founded two biomedical companies. His research interests are in vascular biology, with a particular focus on platelets and thrombosis in coronary artery disease. He was Chairman of the Health Research Board of Ireland (2004-2007), has held committee positions in the Irish Medicines Board and is a member of several professional bodies, including the American Heart Association and the European Society for Cardiology, where he chaired the Working Group on Platelets and Thrombosis.
He is currently a Governor of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. He has been a member of the Editorial Boards of several journals, including Circulation. He is Deputy Chairperson of the National Institute of Health Research TCC and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. He has been an Adjunct Chair in Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania and was elected to the Association of American Physicians in 2006.
He has served on several national bodies, including the Irish Medicines Board, the Health Research Board (which he chaired) and the Irish Heart Foundation, as well as international bodies, including the European Society of Cardiology and the Merck Foundation Fellowship programme. He was a member of the Irish Government’s Innovation Taskforce working group supporting the development of the TCD/UCD Innovation Alliance.
Professor Fitzgerald’s appointment will bring to four the number of UCD Medicine graduates who hold the office of University President. Professor Hugh Brady become the second member of the UCD Medicine Class of 1982 to assume the top position at a UK Russell Group University when he was appointed President at the University of Bristol in September 2014. Professor Patrick Johnston was appointed as President and Vice-Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast at the beginning of the same year. Former UCD Registrar and UCD Medicine alumnus, Professor Philip Nolan (UCD Medicine 1991) was appointed President of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in 2011.