New acting Dean at the helm

Professor Ian Dawes
Tuesday, 4 August, 2009
Bob Beale

Distinguished molecular biologist Professor Ian Dawes takes over today as acting Dean of the Faculty of Science to replace Professor Mike Archer, AM, whose term as Dean has ended after almost six years.

Professor Dawes - a university medallist, Rhodes Scholar, ARC Professorial Fellow and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences - will fill the position until a new Dean is appointed following an international search.

Professor Dawes is a Scientia Professor in the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and has been Director of the Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis since 2000.

His research interests revolve around regulation of gene expression, functional genomics and systems biology.

From 1994-2000 he was Deputy Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Food Innovation and leader of one of its research programs. From 1991-1997 he was Head of the then UNSW School of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and was Associate Dean for Research in the former UNSW Faculty of Life Sciences from 1998-2000. He is Chairman of the International Committee on Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology and is President of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer has paid tribute to Professor Archer's achievements: "In the six years since he took up the post he has significantly strengthened the Faculty, and in particular has been outstanding in his ability to communicate to the broader community the importance and excitement of science. On behalf of all of us, I express sincere thanks for his very valuable contribution to the University."

A former Director of The Australian Museum, Professor Archer has led a long-running and still growing international research effort involving more than 80 scientists studying the rich Riversleigh World Heritage fossil field in Queensland. He is also researching newly discovered Miocene land mammals from New Zealand, new land management strategies for rural and regional Australia, innovative strategies for saving endangered species and the reactivation of ancient DNA.

"After six successful years as Dean, I believe it is a good time to make way for a successor to implement, over the next seven to ten years, the findings of an international review panel on the Faculty's future directions," he says. "It was pleasing that the Panel commented that all of its members were impressed by the high overall quality of the research carried out within the Faculty. Our international standing is high and growing, moving 20 positions up the Times ranking between 2007 and 2008 and our future is bright indeed."

"Personally, after more than a decade of leadership roles, I'm keen to invest more time in my first loves: teaching and innovative scientific research. I will remain with UNSW and continue my teaching, research and supervision of research students, as well as exploring new possibilities."

Media contact:
Bob Beale 0411 705 435