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Pharmacy Professor appointed to Head of School


Professor Donald Cairns, an eminent researcher and academic in the field of pharmacy, has been appointed to the position of Head of School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences.

Prof Don CairnsProfessor Cairns, who has taken over from Professor Terry Healey, stepped up to his new post in January 2012. The position includes responsibility for planning, coordination, development and supervision of academic work in the areas of pharmacy, biomedical sciences, forensic and analytical science plus nutrition and dietetics.

Prof Cairns obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University of Strathclyde in 1980, and after a pre-registration year spent in hospital pharmacy, he returned to Strathclyde to undertake a PhD on the synthesis and properties of benzylimidazolines.

Following a year as a post-doctoral research fellow in the department of pharmacy at Sunderland Polytechnic (now the University of Sunderland), Prof Cairns moved to Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University) where he lectured in Pharmacy for five years.

Professor Cairns was made senior lecturer in medicinal  chemistry in Sunderland School of Pharmacy in 1992. From here he moved to the position of Associate Head of the School of Pharmacy at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in 2003, and in 2006, was promoted to Professor of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry.

Since his arrival at RGU in 2003, Prof Cairns has attracted over £500,000 in external research funding. His research interests include the design and synthesis of selective anticancer agents, the molecular modelling of drug / DNA interactions and the design of prodrugs for the treatment of nephropathic cystinosis.

On his recent appointment, Professor Cairns comments ‘I am very pleased to be appointed Head of School and would like to thank all my friends and colleagues for their help, support, advice, encouragement and  good wishes.   I think it is a huge privilege to be asked

Notes to editors

  • Professor Cairns has authored over 50 peer reviewed research papers and been an external examiner at Strathclyde, Liverpool,  Aberdeen and Belfast Schools of Pharmacy. He is a member of several professional bodies, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Academy of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and is Vice chair of Expert Advisory Group of Medicinal Chemicals. In 2006 he was appointed to the British Pharmacopoeia Commission and serves on an Expert Advisory Group of the Commission on Human Medicines.


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