2016 was an incredibly busy year for the School of Dentistry, which saw us move into 5 Mill Pool Way - a stunning new Dental Hospital and School that is genuinely state-of-the-art. We also said goodbye to many well-loved colleagues and welcomed several new faces.
Head of the School of Dentistry, Professor Iain Chapple, reflects on the many staff changes and looks forward to what promises to be an exciting year:
In August, our longest standing Head of School, Phil Lumley retired after steering the School through 12 years of rapid change, fighting off numerous threats to our existence and helping to make our school one of the best in the world. Of course, you don’t let someone like Phil leave the University, so he is now concentrating on his role as Deputy Head of the entire College of Medical and Dental Sciences!
I was delighted to take over as the new Head of School and what an eventful first six months it has been!
Deb retired in September from her roles as Director of Education, School Head of Paediatric Dentistry, Dental Public Health, Orthodontics and also Senior Welfare Tutor. You can imagine the hole she leaves and the students miss one of their real favourites. Deb still pops in and remains as an Emeritus Professor. Dr David Attrill has been appointed as our new Director of Education whilst Dr Kirsty Hill has taken over as Welfare Tutor. As a psychologist, Kirsty is already very experienced in this role, which becomes more demanding every year.
Dominic, our Final Year lead, Head of GDP, Assessment Lead, great mouth organ player and hilarious judge at our talent shows, was poached for a Professorship at the University of Central Lancashire. Congratulations to Dominic, he will be a tough act to replace. Andrew Corke has kindly agreed to provide cover as Head of GDP for as long as we need him to. He is a fantastic person and it means the final year is in safe hands until we appoint Dominic’s fulltime replacement.
We were very sad to say goodbye to Kris, who has returned to his native Australia. Kris is such an energetic, passionate, caring and hardworking paediatric dentist, and of course, Admissions Tutor, who introduced the MMIs and many other new initiatives and processes in Admissions. We will remain in touch and new collaborations will no doubt arise with him in Melbourne. Jo Batt has stepped up to the plate as Admissions Tutor. We all know Jo will do a fantastic job – she is pragmatic, sensible, rather bright and a great asset to Birmingham….watch this space!
Owen was poached by the University of Alberta Canada and almost left in August. I say ‘almost’ because of course we couldn’t allow Owen to leave completely, so he now works with us for 25% of his time and he flies over every month for a week or so to carry on doing what he does so well, writing research papers, grants and supervising and inspiring young clinicians.
Rob moved to London last term to be with his other half. We miss Rob who was a very bright, industrious and popular Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry (Operative Dentistry) and we wish him well.
Whilst the loss of friends and long-standing colleagues is difficult, it also brings opportunities to recruit equally excellent people.
Sarah joined us in September from Nottingham as Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology, a joint appointment with the Institute of Microbiology and Infection. She has a great pedigree, having a first author paper in Nature on C.Difficile and has huge experience in bacterial cross-talk in the gut microbiome.
We are delighted to welcome back John Morris as Senior Lecturer/ Consultant in Dental Public Health. Previously John has held a number of influential appointments and been a game changer in Dental Pubic Health (DPH) nationally, most recently providing ministerial advice on Fluoridation. He will provide clinical leadership in this area and teach on Clinical Practice, where he can make DPH very relevant to our students in the hands-on dental environment. John will also lead on our outreach programmes.
Following his PhD at Birmingham and highly productive periods in Hong Kong and Leeds, Sunny has developed an international research reputation in 3D and 4D imaging for orofacial reconstruction. He returns to Birmingham to work with our excellent Maxillofacial Surgery team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and with Computer Sciences to further develop his research on the international stage. Sunny will also support the MOrth programme and be the lead for undergraduate Orthodontics teaching. He has big ideas and is the first jointly funded appointment with the Trust for many years. Welcome back Sunny!
Tom essentially steps into his younger brother’s post, but will focus on teaching and pedagogy, leading 3rd and 4th year Clinical Practice under David Attrill, as well as becoming Deputy Admissions Tutor. Tom has masters’ degrees, is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and as an undergraduate was a Carlton Gold Medal winner. He leaves his family NHS practice to work for us full time and also support Conservative Dentistry.
We are delighted to have appointed former Oral Medicine student Ana as a Lecturer/ Honorary Consultant in Oral Medicine. Ana will embark on a PhD on Bechet’s Disease this year and is the new John Hamburger as Academic Lead in Oral Medicine.
Simon is another very talented and experienced GDP, who did a Master’s degree in Perio and joins us as a Senior Fellow in Translational Research. He is trained and experienced in running clinical trials and also contributes as a key staff member on the teaching clinics. As a former VT trainer and another IT savvy practitioner, Simon has already proved hugely valuable and influential in the School. He is a very popular teacher but is primarily here to run trials in different areas of the School.
Patricia replaces Doug Hammond as Lecturer in Oral Surgery. Pat is a very elegant and popular teacher, who also runs clinical drug trials with Prof Thomas Dietrich. She is already on the specialist list in Oral Surgery, but will be undertaking extended competency training with the Maxillofacial team at the QEH to become a fully-fledged consultant. We are very pleased to have retained Pat who was an Academic Clinical Lecturer with us prior to this new role.
Josefine is an exceptionally bright and committed biological researcher, with a strong interest in neutrophil biology and other aspects of the host-pathogen paradigm in periodontal diseases. She joined us from a top unit in Bonn as Academic Clinical Lecturer and is training to be a consultant in Restorative Dentistry, alongside her research endeavours. She has already become a key member of the Periodontal Research Group and publishes prolifically, having also spent time, as I and several of my former lecturers did, at the world-renowned Forsyth Research Centre in Boston USA.
So we are in a very good place at present. We still have a number of key appointments to make before we are fully back to the staff levels we need, firstly in Paediatric Dentistry, then in Restorative Dentistry and perhaps one or two more world-leading names! So as you can see, 2016 was a busy year at Pebble Mill and the School is thriving and working hard to integrate into our new Institute of Clinical Sciences. This will allow us to collaborate with Pharmacy and Nursing, as well as our Medical colleagues and integrate further into the new College structure. Change can be unsettling, but is essential to move forward and improve further upon our already excellent reputation nationally and internationally.