Patrick Johnston (vice-chancellor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Patrick Johnston
12th President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast
Assumed office
1 March 2014
Preceded by Sir Peter Gregson
Personal details
Born Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Nationality British
Children 4
Residence Belfast
Alma mater University College Dublin
Profession Academic
Cancer researcher
Website Vice Chancellor's Office

Patrick Johnston FMedSci is the current vice-chancellor and President of Queen's University Belfast. He took office on March 1, 2014.[1] He is also a leading expert in cancer research, with a global reputation.[2][3]


Johnston is originally from the Waterside area of Londonderry. He attended St. Columb's College and obtained a MB BCh with distinction from University College Dublin.[4] He is married with four grown up sons and one grandson.


He began his career at Queen's in 1996, when he was appointed Professor of Oncology. Prior to his appointment as vice-chancellor he was Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences. In 2007 he led the development of a new international Medical School at Queen’s and the Institute of Health Sciences. Prior to these he was the Director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at the University.

Johnston was made chair of the Translational Research Group of the Medical Research Council (MRC) in 2012. He received the 2013 International Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Prize for his work in translating[5] discovery science for the benefit of cancer patients. He also serves on the Cancer Research UK (CR-UK) Science Executive/Advisory Board. Johnston is also a founder of Almac Diagnostics, which is based in Craigavon and the Society for Translational Oncology in Durham, North Carolina.

He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (appointed 2012) and the National Cancer Institute (appointed 1987). He was made a senior investigator at the NCI in 1991. In 2012 he was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Anniversary Prize, for his leadership at the University’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre.[4]

Johnston's tenure at Queen's has been controversial. He is seen by many to be interested only in financial gain and establishing corporate strategies that endanger the nature of the university as a seat of culture, learning, open-mindedness and free speech. On 20th April 2015, Johnston cancelled a conference that was to be held on 'Understanding Charlie: New perspectives on contemporary citizenship after Charlie Hebdo', citing his worries regarding 'security risks' and 'the reputation of the university'. He was heavily criticised for censoring this academic forum on the subject of free speech. [6] Due to the outcry produced by his decision he quickly reconsidered and the conference was reapproved. [7]