Owen Patrick Smith becomes new Regius Professor of Physic (1637)The regius professor of physic is the oldest chair of medicine in Ireland and it is among the oldest in Europe.

22 July 2014

Professor Owen Patrick Smith, Professor of Haematology (2002) and Honorary Fellow (2009) of Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Paediatric Haematologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin was awarded Honorary Professorship title of Professor of Physic (1637) in the School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin in June of this year.

The regius professor of physic is the oldest chair of medicine in Ireland and it is among the oldest in Europe. The chair has been held by many distinguished professors over the centuries including the famous William Stokes who was regius professor of physic between 1845 and 1878. Professor Donald Weir was the most recent holder of the chair. John Stearne was appointed to the first chair of medicine in Trinity College Dublin in 1662. The title of the chair was publique professor of medicine but it later became known as the regius professor of physic.

Professor Smith entered Trinity College in 1976 to read Natural Sciences and graduated with a moderatorship in Biochemistry in 1980. He went on to graduate in Medicine from Trinity in 1985 and after 9 year postgraduate training at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital,  University College London he was appointed Consultant Haematologist at the National Children’s and St James’s Hospitals, Dublin. Between 1995 and 1999 Professor Smith was successively lecturer in Haematology, senior lecturer in Haematology, before being appointed Professor of Haematology at the Faculty of Medical and Dental Sciences at Trinity College Dublin in 2002.

Professor Smith is a principal investigator at the National Children's Research Centre, Crumlin, and the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin. His two main areas of research have focused on evidence-based randomised peer-reviewed haemato-oncology clinical trials with a focus on clinical questions within all domains of paediatric and adolescent blood and cancer and the elucidation of the relationship between the protein C activation pathway and systemic inflammatory response sepsis syndromes. 

One of Professor Smiths’ major contributions to Irish medicine has been through the promotion of clinical research as evidenced by; a significant expansion of clinical paediatric scholarship with excellent research outputs, a strengthening of national and international academic collaborations, and the nurturing, education, and career development of the present generation of Irish consultant paediatric haematologists. In addition, Professor Smith has a strong record of championing significant national developments in child and adolescent health in this country over the two decades. For example, he was project director for the creation of National Centre for Hereditary Coagulation Disorders [1997 – St. James’s Hospital] and the National Paediatric Haematology-Oncology Programme [2002 – Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin]. He was a member of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board [2009], the Dolphin Review Group on the National Children’s Hospital [2012] and is currently a member of the Strategic Advisory Group focusing on options to develop a Paediatric Academic Health Sciences Network at the request of the New Children’s Hospital Group Board.

The co-author of more than 330 research original articles, letters, books, book chapters and papers, Professor Smith is a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Pathologists, Royal College of Physicians of Dublin, Royal College of Physicians London, Royal College of Physicians Glasgow, and Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh.  He is a member of numerous associations and societies, including; the Medical Research Council Childhood Leukaemia Working Party, the International Berlin Frankfurt Munster Study Group for Childhood Leukaemia, and the United Kingdom Children’s Cancer Group. He is an international advocate for children and adolescents with rare diseases and for expanded access to expensive drugs

Professor Smith has received numerous awards throughout his career that have included; Presidents Prize of the Dublin University Biological Association in 1984 and 1985, Postgraduate Travelling Scholarship in Medicine, Sheppard Memorial Prize in Medicine and the Sir John Banks Medical in Medicine from Trinity College in 1991. He was the recipient of the Junior Chamber Ireland’s National Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award in the area of Scientific Development in 1998 and he delivered the 41st Graves Lecture and the 31st St Luke’s Lecture to the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland in 2001 and 2006 respectively. He was admitted to Honorary Fellowship of Trinity College Dublin in 2009.

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Yolanda Kennedy, Press Officer for the Faculty of Health Sciences | yokenned@tcd.ie | 01 896 3551

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