College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Head of College wins royal assent for distinguished academic post

One of the UK’s most esteemed academic roles has been bestowed on our Head of College.

Professor Sir John Savill

Professor Sir John Savill, Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, has been appointed to the Regius Chair of Medical Science at the University.

International reputation

The eminent academic has been awarded the position by the Queen in recognition of his international reputation and outstanding contribution to medical research.

Professor Savill has devoted his academic career to investigating the molecular processes of inflammation.

Since 2010, he has also served as Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, a publicly funded government agency responsible for co-ordinating and funding medical research in the UK.

I am very grateful for the strong support that I have received from many colleagues while serving the MRC and I feel honoured to be taking up the Regius Chair of Medical Science, a discipline in which the University of Edinburgh is a world leader.

Professor Sir John SavillVice-Principal and Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine 

Clincian Scientist

Professor Savill started his research career with a degree in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University, followed by degrees in Medicine at the University of Sheffield. He received a PhD from the University of London in 1989.

After junior hospital appointments in Sheffield, Nottingham and London, he spent seven years in the Department of Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital.

In 1993, he took up the role of Chair of Medicine at the University of Nottingham before joining the University of Edinburgh, where he holds a Personal Chair in Experimental Medicine.

Inflammation studies

He was the first director of the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh, directing a group interested in the molecular cell biology of kidney inflammation.

Insights from his research have helped to define how the immune system recognises dying cells in the body in order to remove them. This process is vital for preventing long-term inflammation in the body’s tissues, which can lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease.

Career success

In addition to his research successes, Professor Savill was Chief Scientist for the Scottish Government Health Directorates and has previously served as a non-executive Director of NHS Lothian.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and was knighted in the 2008 New Year Honours List for services to clinical science.

I am really delighted that Professor Savill has been appointed to this illustrious Chair. It recognises the enormous contributions that he has made to medical science throughout his distinguished career. The appointment reflects the excellence of medical research and teaching for which Edinburgh is known throughout the world.

Professor Sir Timothy O’SheaPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor 

Regius Chair

The creation of a Regius Professorship falls under royal prerogative – each appointment is approved by the reigning Monarch. The Regius Chair of Medical Science at the University of Edinburgh was created by Queen Victoria.

Professor Savill will demit from his role at the MRC to take up the position in April 2018.