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Gordon Duff

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Predicting public health in 2025 | Sir Gordon Duff

Sir Gordon William Duff, MA, BM MCh, PhD, MD (Hon) FFPM (Hon), FBSPharmacol (Hon), FRCP (Lon), FRCP (Edin), FMedSci, FRSE (born 27 December 1947) is a British medical scientist and academic who served (2013–14) as the Chairman of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. On 1 December 2014, he was succeeded by the current Chair, Sir Michael Rawlins.


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Duff has been the Lord Florey Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Sheffield, since 1991, and in 2014 was appointed Principal of St Hilda's College, Oxford.

Life and career

Duff, the son of William Munro Duff and Marion Gertrude Duff, was educated at Perth Academy and Hipperholme Grammar School, and obtained his BA (1969) and MA (1975) degrees from St Peter's College, Oxford. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the college in 2006. Following his graduation, Duff attended St Thomas's Hospital Medical School in London, where he obtained his PhD in 1980. Following postgraduate training in London and at the RAF Medical Unit in Midhurst, he held junior faculty posts at Yale Medical School and the Howard Hughes Institute of Molecular Immunology. He joined Edinburgh Medical School in 1984, where he led the research that first identied TNF as a drug target in inflammatory diseases (now the target of drugs with multi-billion dollar sales). In 1990 he became Lord Florey Professor of Molecular Medicine at Sheffield University, where he was also Faculty Research Dean and Director of the Division of Genomic Medicine. For two years he was Chair of the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products of Regularatory Agency before taking up his current post as Principal of St Hilda's College, University of Oxford. With interests in inflammation, cytokines, biomedicines, public health and genetics, he has published many research articles and patents in these areas, as well as government reports on medicines and their regulation.


Duff was founding editor of the international research journal 'CYTOKINE' (Elsevier), advisory editor to the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) Journal and is Past-President of the International Cytokine Society.

He has served on many Scientific Advisory Boards in the UK, EU and the USA. Previously Chair of the UK's Committee on Safety of Medicines and its Biologicals and Vaccines Sub-committee, he was inaugural Chair of the UK's Commission on Human Medicines (2005-2012) . He was Chair of the Secretary-of-State's Expert Scientific Group on Phase One Clinical Trials following the 2006 disaster at Northwick Park. From 2002 to 2009 he was Chair of the UK's National Biological Standards Board, overseeing the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, including the National Stem Cell Bank. He is an advisor on Biological Medicines to the EU, and was Chair of the UK's Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee. In 2009, Duff was appointed Co-Chair of the UK Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). In 2010, he reported on the UK's Organ Donor Register at the request of Secretary-of-State. He chaired the Academic Health Science Centre of Imperial College London (2012–16) and currently chairs the Academic Health Science Centre of Trinity College Dubliin, and the MRC/NIHR National Phenome Centre in London.

Private life and honours

In 2007 he was Knighted for services to Public Health including his role in the inquiry into the conduct of a drugs trial at Northwick Park Hospital in 2006. He was listed in the 'Top 100' working scientists in the UK Science Council list for 2014.

In 1969, Duff married Naida Margaret Clarke, the daughter of Air Commodore Charles Clarke, OBE and Eileen Clarke; Lady Duff is a graduate of St Hilda's.


Gordon Duff Wikipedia