Oceania University of Medicine has appointed Derek Kennedy, PhD, MMedSci, DipEd, BSc as Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of the medical school. An accomplished academic with vast bioscience experience and more than two decades of teaching and research experience, Professor Kennedy was most recently Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Science at Griffith University. His additional roles in the School of Environment and Science have included Discipline Head, Biosciences and Discipline Head, Forensics.
“Like many things during the last couple of years, the University’s CAO search was interrupted by the pandemic. We are fortunate to have been able to attract Professor Kennedy to OUM at this time,” says Professor Athol Mackay, OUM’s Vice Chancellor.
As a member of OUM’s Executive Committee and Academic Board, Professor Kennedy will lead all academic affairs of the University, including curriculum, instruction, pedagogy, and learning.
“I am very excited to have joined OUM,” says Professor Kennedy. “It represents opportunities to fulfill my career aspirations while also joining a dynamic university that is ideally positioned to continue capitalizing on modern era technology and integrate it into its medical training program. Faculty, staff, and students are responsive to new ideas and pro-actively pursue new areas of medicine and new ways to deliver its content. There is a progressive feel here that has unshackled itself from typical teaching traditions while retaining fundamental elements of medical education. I hope my involvement will ultimately translate to better medical and community outcomes in our global regions,” he adds.
Professor Kennedy’s research interests have ranged from gene discovery to new drug discovery, with a passion focused on RNA-binding proteins and gene regulation mechanisms at the RNA level. His laboratory measured drug efficacy by novel cell assays pioneered by his group, and he has been engaged in the identification of several cancer therapies. Even before the COVID outbreak, Dr. Kennedy’s lab discovered and characterized the gene product G3BP2, which was identified as one of the proteins interacting with COVID during infection. Together with a wide scope of international funding sources and a high citation count, his research activities have made a notable impact on the scientific community.
Extending beyond the research lab, Professor Kennedy’s reputation as a proactive educator with a passion for education has been paramount. During his tenure at Griffith, he spent 18 years delivering core courses to four degree programs. He was a Course Convenor for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering, Molecular Biology, Molecular Genetics, and Gene Expression and Development. In addition, he was a Program Convenor for the Bachelor of Biomolecular Science, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Information Technology programs.
Professor Kennedy has been a long-serving officer as both Vice President and President of the Association of Research Between Italy and Australia, Queensland Branch. He has also been a long-standing member of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology.
His own academic journey began with the earning of his BSc from Griffith University, followed by a Diploma of Education from the University of Queensland. Professor Kennedy then earned his two graduate degrees from the University of Queensland specialty institutions — a Masters of Medical Science from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and his Ph.D. from its Institute for Molecular Bioscience.
Please join us in welcoming Professor Kennedy to OUM.