Professor John Atherton to retire from the university


October 12th, 2021

Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Medicine & Health Sciences, Professor John Atherton, has confirmed his intention to retire from the University of Nottingham from the end of the Spring term next year.

Following a 35-year career spanning clinical and academic practice – 26 of them teaching, leading and consulting at the university – Professor Atherton has decided to pursue an active retirement.

Paying tribute to John’s work at the university, Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said:

“I would like to thank John for his immense contribution to the university and the medical profession, and I wish him a long and very happy retirement. Delivering excellence in patient care and student education has formed the backbone of a distinguished career, and he has driven ambitious standards of care and innovation in medicine at a local, regional and national level.

“John has always championed Nottingham’s defining role in training medical talent and developing research innovation, and played a pivotal role in the creation and success of the new Lincoln Medical School to address a critical shortage of healthcare professionals for Lincolnshire.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, John has worked tirelessly to support local NHS partners and the national effort to tackle Covid-19. In his role as Co-Chair of the Medical Schools Council, he co-ordinated a national approach to ensure that medical students could continue to graduate, and that students could safely work on placement to support the NHS at a critical time with Trusts treating Covid-19 cases on hospital wards.”

Professor Atherton said:

“My work in the University of Nottingham has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life. At this stage it is people one remembers; I have been lucky to work with so many talented, principled and energetic staff and students. The future of education and research is in good hands! Thank you all.”

Professor John Atherton

The university will be working with an external recruitment agency to identify John’s successor as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and will aim to secure an appointment before his departure next Spring.

John’s medical education was at the University of Cambridge then Oxford, and following postgraduate training in medicine and gastroenterology, he trained in gastroenterology research in the UK as well as infectious disease research in the USA. He settled at the University of Nottingham in 1995 and became a full Professor in 2001, continuing to practice clinical gastroenterology as an NHS Consultant whilst teaching medical students and continuing his research.

From 2009 to 2013 he was Head of the School of Clinical Sciences and then from 2013 to 2015, following a merger of Schools, the first Dean of the new School of Medicine. Since 2015 he has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. His main research interests are in the virulence of the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori and the pathogenesis of peptic ulceration and gastric cancer.

He has held both MRC Clinician Scientist and Senior Clinical Fellowships and was awarded the Sir Francis Avery Jones Research Medal by the British Society of Gastroenterology. Outside the university he has served as Secretary-General of United European Gastroenterology, as Co-chair of UK Medical Schools Council and as a Non-Executive Director of University Hospitals Nottingham NHS Trust.

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