Chris Goodnow appointed as executive director of Garvan

Friday, 06 April, 2018

Chris Goodnow appointed as executive director of Garvan

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research has appointed Professor Chris Goodnow as its executive director*.

Professor Goodnow, an internationally recognised expert in the immune system, has pioneered the use of DNA technology and genome sequencing to reveal how the immune system distinguishes between ‘self’ and ‘non-self’ — and, in particular, how these processes go awry in autoimmune disease. He is currently deputy director of Garvan and head of the Immunogenomics Laboratory in Garvan’s Immunology Division. He holds The Bill and Patricia Ritchie Foundation Chair, is Conjoint Professor at UNSW Sydney in the St Vincent’s Clinical School (Faculty of Medicine) and is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow.

Professor Goodnow succeeds Professor John Mattick AO FAA as executive director. He will assume his new role upon the completion of Professor Mattick’s directorship.

Dr John Schubert AO, chairman of Garvan, said that Professor Goodnow’s appointment as executive director will see the institute go from strength to strength in its mission to make major impacts on human health through medical research.

The appointment will cement Garvan’s position as the leading genomics centre in Australia, he said.

“As a board, we are unanimously delighted that Chris has agreed to become the institute’s fourth director,” Dr Schubert said. “The clear frontrunner from an international leadership search, Chris is a scientist of remarkable ability and foresight, and a leader of great vision and warmth — and he is held in exceptionally high regard by everyone on the Garvan team.

“Chris first came to Garvan as deputy director in 2015. In the three years he has been here, he has driven several exceptional research and clinical endeavours — most notably a close and wide-ranging partnership with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science — that are key to Garvan’s pioneering work in unlocking the power of precision medicine through genomics.”

Professor Goodnow said he was energised and inspired by those who had led Garvan before.

“Since its beginnings in 1963, this great institute has benefited from outstanding leadership. The first full-time director, Professor Leslie Lazarus AO, transformed Garvan into a major medical research institute; he was followed by Professor John Shine AC, an extraordinary pioneer of DNA research to improve human health who led the institute into the era of genetics and genomics; and most recently Professor John Mattick AO, who since 2012 has transformed the institute into one of the world’s leading clinical genomics centres and has positioned Garvan to make a major contribution to the transformation of medicine and health care. It’s my absolute pleasure to accept the executive directorship, and to build on the legacy of these pre-eminent leaders,” Professor Goodnow said.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with Garvan’s driven and talented team as we strive, through our research and clinical endeavours, to make a meaningful difference to the health and wellbeing of Australians and people around the world. I would especially like to acknowledge Julia and Ruth Ritchie and The Bill and Patricia Ritchie Foundation, who helped bring me to Garvan and who have provided an unwavering level of support and encouragement.”

Ruth and Julia Ritchie added, “Our parents understood the immense value of philanthropy and medical research, and we’re proud to carry on their legacy of giving back. On behalf of the family and board of The Bill and Patricia Ritchie Foundation, we are excited for Professor Goodnow, for Garvan and the future of precision medicine. As a scientist and a leader, Chris has already inspired all those with whom he works. Professor John Mattick is passing the baton to very sure hands.”

*Professor Goodnow’s appointment is subject to the formal approval of His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales, under the precepts of Section 7 of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research Act (1984).

Image credit: Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

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