In conversation with our new Chair, Professor John Iredale

In conversation with our new Chair, Professor John Iredale

Professor John Iredale became the Lister Institute’s Chair in September 2022. A few months into the role, we caught up with him to hear his aspirations for his tenure.

John was invited to join the Lister’s Scientific Advisory Committee in 2013. After five years, he was asked to become its Chair – a position which Professor Julian Blow now holds following our Autumn 2022 reshuffle.

John has a “deep love” for the Lister. “It’s got a spectacular track record in supporting young talent,” he says.

“Connecting with people comparatively early in their career rather than established investigators is an exciting and enjoyable challenge.”

He continues: “Although you could argue that the grants are comparatively modest, nevertheless having several hundred thousand pounds that you’re able to spend almost as you choose offers freedom and transformational support for exciting new ideas.”

The Lister’s reputation means that it is relatively easy to find outstanding people to assist on the committees and in reviewing applications, says John. His only lament is that the Scientific Advisory Committee is not able to award more annual Prizes and he is keen to explore the possibilities of seeking out new benefactors: “It would always be nice to have more money to spend!”

John played a central role in our Annual Meeting in September 2022.

He acknowledges that despite the Lister’s sizeable investments, this is not an easy period to navigate financially. “These are challenging times for everyone, including those who are trying to do science. But we’re investing in the future of biomedical science and continuing to do that is more important than ever.”

John also recognizes the importance of our Summer Studentships programme: “Getting undergraduates to consider research as a career is a really important part of the capacity building the Lister does so well.”

Keep an eye out for a story coming later this month about the Studentships completed in 2022!

John is currently also the Interim Chair of the Medical Research Council and, given his workload, the opportunity to focus on his own research area of interest – in inflammation and repair – is minimal. “I continue to be humbled by the achievements of the members of my old group and get huge pleasure hearing of their successes… but they look at me in horror when I say I have been thinking of dipping my toe back in!”  It may just have to wait until he has a little more time on his hands.

John graduated from the University of Southampton in 1985 and was awarded a Doctor of Medicine in 1995. He was made a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1999, the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2003, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 2007, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2011. His research interests lie in tissue scarring and regeneration and he has published extensively on these subjects.