Professor P Gerry McKenna has been, since the early 1980s, a pioneering and visionary figure in higher education. A former Dean of Science, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research), and ultimately Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Ulster (1999-2005), he was a key architect in the transformation of the University from a largely teaching-only institution in the 1980s into one with a strong reputation for research and knowledge transfer by the beginning of the new millennium. He internationalised the University through collaborative research and teaching linkages with leading universities in the United States, Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia and Australia.
McKenna has been a hugely innovative force in teaching and learning. Among many teaching initiatives, he established the University of Ulster as a leading UK centre for e-learning and for widening access, particularly through the ‘Step Up Programme’ focussed on disadvantaged areas. Under his stewardship, Ulster became the most extensive provider of undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare programmes in the UK, many initiated directly by him, and rose to being the 8th most popular university for undergraduate applications in the UK and the largest university on the island of Ireland. It was shortlisted for the Sunday Times ‘University of the Year’ in 2001.
Gerry McKenna was the progenitor and driver of Ulster’s highly successful research and knowledge transfer strategy which saw the University become one of only twenty universities to obtain two 5* ratings (in Biomedical Sciences and Celtic Studies) in the 2001 UK-wide Research Assessment Exercise.
McKenna has been centrally involved in developing many national and international initiatives including the establishment of Universities Ireland (as founding chair), the Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science (HUCBMS) and the US-Ireland R&D Partnership. Locally, he was a pioneer of knowledge transfer, influenced by his many collaborations with the United States. He was co-founder of the Northern Ireland Science Park and established incubator facilities for start-up companies at each of the University of Ulster’s campuses and science research parks at the Coleraine and Magee campuses.
An internationally distinguished researcher in the areas of DNA repair and mutagenesis, McKenna built his subject area, biomedical sciences, from a zero base at Ulster in the early 1980s into a leading international centre by the mid-1990s; obtaining the highest possible 5* ratings in successive Research Assessment Exercises (RAEs) in 1996 and 2001 and being top-ranked in the UK under the revised descriptors used in the 2008 RAE.
Professor McKenna has received many plaudits including: Membership of the Royal Irish Academy, Freedom of the Borough of Coleraine, Honorary Doctorates from the National University of Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast, Coleraine Business Person of the Year, Keys to the City of Portland Maine, and Honouree of the Harvard Friends of Celtic Studies and the Flax Trust, New York. He is Deputy Lieutenant for Co. Londonderry.
A Professor Emeritus of the University of Ulster, Gerry McKenna remains highly active in higher education circles; advising institutions and organizations, nationally and internationally, on research strategy and policy, biomedical and healthcare education, business planning and biotechnology. He is President Emeritus and Hon. Executive Secretary of the Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science. He continues to write on a wide range of topics including research policy, knowledge transfer, university funding and institutional ethics.
Major Academic, Research and Knowledge Transfer Developments led by Professor Gerry McKenna MRIA
1980 – development of BSc (Hons.) Biomedical Sciences (Medical Laboratory Sciences) programme at the New University of Ulster (NUU)
1980 – development of UK’s first BSc (Hons.) Nursing Studies programme for registered nurses
1983 – co-founder of the Northern Ireland Diet and Health Study
1985 – founding Director of Biomedical Sciences Research Centre at the University of Ulster (UU)
1985 – development of UK’s first MSc Biomedical Sciences programme
1987 – development of BSc (Hons.) Human Nutrition programme
1989 – receipt of 3 rating for Biomedical Sciences in Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)
1989 – development of UK’s first approved BSc (Hons.) Radiograpy programme
1992 – award of 4 rating for Biomedical Sciences in RAE
1993 – founding chair of UU’s Research Policy and Practice Committee; resulting inter alia in establishment of policy of research selectivity
1993 – establishment of Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA)
1993 – development of UK’s first BSc (Hons.) Clinical Science programme
1993 – co-founder of Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Sciences (HUCBMS)
1994 – development of Faculty of Science at UU
1995 – development of BSc (Hons.) Optometry programme at UU
1995 – development of franchised human nutrition and dietetics programmes with the University of Hong Kong
1996 – award of highest possible, 5*, rating for Biomedical Sciences in RAE and hugely improved overall RAE performance as a result of policy of research selectivity
1996 – development of Master of Research (MRes) programme
1996 – establishment of Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE) with EU Structural Funds
1996 – establishment of UU’s first Research Graduate School in Faculty of Science followed by development of Research Graduate Schools in all faculties
1996 – development of UU’s first professional doctoral programme (D Med Sci)
1997 – establishment of UUTECH Ltd – to promote knowledge transfer including spin-out companies
1997 – establishment of BSc (Hons.) Equine Studies in association with the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE)
1998 – establishment of UU Visiting Scholars and Research Student exchange
programmes with leading US universities
1998 – co-founder of Universities Challenge Fund (NI) to support spin-out companies
1999 – co-founder of Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship (NICENT)
1999 – establishment of ‘Step Up’ programme – to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in gaining access to high demand university programmes
2000 – co-founder of Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP)
2000 – reorganisation of UU faculty structures on academic lines including the development of faculties of Life and Health Sciences, and Social Sciences
2000 – award of funding from Atlantic Philanthropies to support development of plans for refurbishment of Foyle Arts Centre to house creative arts at Magee campus
2000 – establishment of UU Science Research Parks (UUSRP) Ltd with subsequent funding from the Northern Ireland Science Park to develop Science Research Parks at Coleraine and Magee
2000 – establishment of Department of Quality Assurance and Enhancement led by a Pro Vice Chancellor – leading inter alia to a hugely positive transformation of the University’s performance in teaching and learning as assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
2001 – award of highest possible, 5*, rating for Biomedical Sciences and Celtic Studies in RAE and 3 other 5 ratings as part of a further major improvement in the University’s research performance
2001 – co-initiator and -architect of Support Programme for University Research (SPUR) 1 (£40m) with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) – resulting in the establishment of the Centre of Molecular Biosciences (CMB) at Coleraine and the Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages (AICH) at the Magee campus
2001 – establishment of research pavilions at Magee campus
2001 – establishment of UU ‘virtual campus’, Campus One, to promote e-learning (including inter alia the development of the world’s first fully online Master’s programme in Biomedical Sciences)
2001 – UU shortlisted for Sunday Times University of the Year
2002 – establishment of Science Innovation units with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies and NI government at Magee, Coleraine and Jordanstown campuses to house fledgling spin-out companies
2002 – establishment of Ireland Funds’ international lecture programme by international statespersons and installing John Hume as Tip O’Neill Chair
2002 – establishment of ‘Sir Derek Birley’ Learning Resource Centre (library) with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies at Jordanstown campus
2002 – establishment of academic linked programmes and collaborations with Liaoning Province in China
2003 – founding chair of Universities Ireland – to promote cooperation between the 9 universities in Ireland
2003 – establishment of new Learning Resource Centre (library) with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies at Magee campus
2003 – purchase of additional 50 acres at Jordanstown campus to enable future campus expansion
2003 – integration of Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College into UU
2003 – development of BSc (Hons.) Architecture programme
2003 – co-initiator and -architect of SPUR 2 (£60m)supported by Atlantic Philanthropies and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) – resulting in the establishment of the Centre for Art, Technology and Design at Belfast, the Transitional Justice Institute at Jordanstown and Magee and the Centre for Media Research at Coleraine and Belfast
2003 – award of £10m government funding for Belfast campus refurbishment
2003 – UU research income exceeds £44m
2003 – UU becomes one of the top 10 (8th) most popular UK universities for undergraduate applications and the largest university in Ireland
2004 – establishment of 10 ‘Research Institutes’ at UU to maintain and promote world class research in selected areas
2004 – establishment of collaborative linkage with Babson College, Mass. to develop joint programmes in entrepreneurship
2004 – establishment of ‘Harry Ferguson Engineering Village’ at Jordanstown with funding from the UK Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF), the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) and the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI), incorporating centres in bioengineering, nanotechnology, sustainable energy and fire safety technology
2004 – founding Northern Ireland chair, US-Ireland R&D Partnership – to promote collaboration between leading research centres in the US and Ireland
2004 – funding agreement with Invest NI to establish Intelligent Systems Centre at Magee campus
Prof Patrick Gerald (Gerry) McKenna DL, MRIA, BSc, PhD, CBiol, FSB, CSci, FIBMS, FRSA, Hon. DSc, Hon. LLD
Former President and Vice Chancellor, University of Ulster;
President Emeritus and Hon. Executive Secretary, Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science (HUCBMS)
Telephone (Mobile/Cell): +44 (0)7766745511
Email: [email protected]
DATE OF BIRTH: 10 December 1953
MARITAL STATUS: Married (2 sons)
BSc Biology (1st class Hons),Ulster 1976
PhD Genetics,Belfast 1979
Chartered Biologist 1982
Fellow of Institute of Biomedical Science 1982
Fellow of Society (formerly Institute) of Biology 1989
Chartered Scientist 2006
Lecturer, Human Biology and Genetics, New University of Ulster, 1979-84; Senior Lecturer in Biology, University of Ulster, 1984-88; Director of Biomedical Sciences Research Centre, University of Ulster, 1985-88; Professor and Head of Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, 1988-94; Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Ulster, 1994-97; Pro Vice Chancellor (Research), University of Ulster, 1997-99; Vice Chancellor, University of Ulster, 1999-2005; President, University of Ulster, 2000-2006; President Emeritus and Hon. Executive Secretary, Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science (HUCBMS), 2011-.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 1992; University of Malaya, 1993; University of California at Berkeley, 1995.
Coleraine Business Person of the Year, 1999; Freedom of the Borough of Coleraine, 2001; Hon DSc, National University of Ireland, 2001; Hon LLD, Queen’s University Belfast, 2002; Member of the Royal Irish Academy, 2001; Deputy Lieutenant for County Londonderry, 2002-; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, 2000; Honoree, The Flax Trust, New York, 2003; Honoree, Friends of Harvard Celtic Studies, Cambridge Mass, 2002; Keys to City of Portland, Maine, 2003; President Emeritus, Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Sciences 2000-; Professor Emeritus, University of Ulster, 2006-.
REPRESENTATION ON EXTERNAL BODIES:
Higher Education Funding Councils Research Assessment Exercise, Other Studies and Professions Allied to Medicine Panel, 2001; Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science (HUCBMS), 1995-97; Universities Ireland, 2002-04; Northern Ireland Branch of Institute of Biology, 1993-95; Northern Ireland Foresight, Life and Health Technologies Panel, 1996-2000; Audit Committee, Northern Ireland Regional Medical Physics Agency, 1994-2001; Research and Clinical Services Committee, Ulster Cancer Foundation, 1998-2000; Northern Ireland Liaison Committee, Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences, 1988-1994; Northern Ireland Sub-Committee, US-Ireland R&D Alliance, 2002-04; UK Council for Postgraduate Education, Research Training Group for Nursing and PAMS, 2002-03; UUTech Ltd, 2002-04; University of Ulster Science Research Parks Ltd, 2002-2004; Management Board, Servite Priory Library Project,
Ulster Cancer Foundation, 2000-04; Northern Ireland Branch of Institute of Biology, 1992-93; Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science (HUCBMS), 1993-95.
OTHER BOARD MEMBERSHIPS:
e-Universities UK; UK Joint Medical Advisory Council; UK Health Education Partnership; Education Advisory Committee, Institute of Biomedical Science; Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA); Fellowship Committee, Institute of Biology; CNAA Life Sciences Board; Post-Service Education Working Group, College of Radiographers; Research Committee, Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research Fund; Northern Ireland Science Park; University Challenge (NI) Ltd; Northern Ireland Regional Medical Physics Agency; Postgraduate Awards Committees (Studentships, CAST Awards, Distinction Awards), Department for Employment and Learning, NI; Clinical Research Awards Committee, Department for Health and Social Services, NI; University of Ulster Foundation; RIA North-South Standing Committee; Stormont All-Party Grouping on Science and Technology; Kufa University International Advisory Board etc.
MEMBERSHIP OF EDITORIAL BOARDS:
British Journal of Biomedical Science, Radiography, Journal of Biomedical Science.
EXTERNAL EXAMINING: PhD (7), DSc (1), Taught Programmes (BSc / MSc) (12); REF 2014 reviewer for 5 UK universities. Departmental Adviser (Biomedical Sciences), Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2012-)
TAUGHT PROGRAMME EVALUATION:
In Ireland, Great Britain, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia.
Approximately £40million obtained between 1999 and 2006 from US, GB and Ireland.
DNA repair, mutagenesis, diet and health, research policy.
PERSONAL RESEARCH GRANTS:
Over £20m from MRC, Cancer Research Campaign, Leukaemia Research Fund, Department of Health, Wellcome Foundation, European Union etc.
RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS: Over 200 scientific publications
DOCTORAL SUPERVISIONS: 25
In: research, research strategy, university planning, and taught programme development. (in: US, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Iraq, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka).
• 2003: M B E Livingstone; Paula J Robson; Alison E Black; W Andy Coward; J M W Wallace; Michelle C McKinley; John J Strain; PG McKenna
An evaluation of the sensitivity and specificity of energy expenditure measured by heart rate and the Goldberg cut-off for energy intake: basal metabolic rate for identifying mis-reporting of energy intake by adults and children: a retrospective analysis.
European journal of clinical nutrition 2003;57(3):455-63.
• 2000: Paul Hyland; A L Keegan; M D Curran; Derek Middleton; PG McKenna; Yvonne A Barnett
Effect of a dCTP:dTTP pool imbalance on DNA replication fidelity in Friend murine erythroleukemia cells.
Environmental and molecular mutagenesis 2000;36(2):87-96.
• 1999: Robert Welch; E Turley; SF Sweetman; G Kennedy; Andrew Collins; Adrian Dunne; M B E Livingstone; PG McKenna; Valerie J McKelvey-Martin; John J Strain
Dietary antioxidant supplementation and DNA damage in smokers and nonsmokers.
Nutrition and cancer 1999;34(2):167-72.
• 1997: C J Best; PG McKenna; Valerie J McKelvey-Martin
Mutagen sensitivity in thymidine kinase- and methyltransferase-deficient human lymphoblastoid cells.
British journal of biomedical science 1997;54(4):267-72.
• 1997: M Yadollahi-Farsani; PG McKenna; Valerie J McKelvey-Martin
Molecular mechanisms of mutagen hypersensitivity in adenine phosphoribosyl transferase-deficient Friend mouse erythroleukaemia cells.
British journal of biomedical science 1997;54(3):174-80.
• 1997: P J McCarthy; SF Sweetman; PG McKenna; Valerie J McKelvey-Martin
Evaluation of manual and image analysis quantification of DNA damage in the alkaline comet assay.
• 1997: P B Mullan; PG McKenna; Valerie J McKelvey-Martin
Activities of potential tumour marker enzymes during induced differentiation in HL-60 and U-937 cells.
British journal of biomedical science 1997;54(2):91-9.
• 1997: A A Nelson; PG McKenna; Yvonne A Barnett
An investigation of the role of adenine phosphoribosyltransferase for excision repair following UV irradiation in Friend cells.
Biochemical Society transactions 1997;25(1):149S.
• 1997: Paul Hyland; M W McKinney; A L Keegan; PG McKenna; M D Curran; Derek Middleton; Yvonne A Barnett
Sequence analysis of spontaneously-arising mutations at the aprt locus in wild-type and thymidine kinase-deficient Friend cells: evidence for strand slippage-misalignment mechanism in formation of deletions.
Biochemical Society transactions 1997;25(1):127S.
• 1996: P L Hyland; M W McKinney; A L Keegan; PG McKenna; Yvonne A Barnett
Analysis of mutations at the adenine phosphoribosyltransferase gene locus in wild-type and thymidine kinase-deficient Friend cells.
Biochemical Society transactions 1996;24(1):105S.
• 1995: W M Thomas; J F Robertson; PG McKenna; Kim L O’Neill; M H E Robinson; Jack D Hardcastle
Serum thymidine kinase in colorectal neoplasia.
European journal of surgical oncology : the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology 1995;21(6):632-4.
• 1995: S F Sweetman; PG McKenna; Valerie J McKelvey-Martin
Bleomycin-induced DNA damage and repair in wild-type and thymidine kinase-deficient Friend mouse erythroleukaemia cells.
British journal of biomedical science 1995;52(4):257-65.
• 1995: I D Logan; PG McKenna; Yvonne A Barnett
An investigation of the cytotoxic and mutagenic potential of low intensity laser irradiation in Friend erythroleukaemia cells.
Mutation research 1995;347(2):67-71.
• 1995: A A Nelson; KM Joyce; PG McKenna; Yvonne A Barnett
The significance of adenine phosphoribosyltransferase for DNA repair processes in Friend cells.
Biochemical Society transactions 1995;23(2):378S.
• 1994: C J Best; Valerie J McKelvey-Martin; PG McKenna
Effects of thymidine kinase and methyltransferase deficiency on mutagenesis in a human lymphoblastoid cell line.
Mutation research 1994;309(2):235-42.
• 1994: C M King; E S Gillespie; PG McKenna; Yvonne A Barnett
An investigation of mutation as a function of age in humans.
Mutation research 1994;316(2):79-90.
• 1993: L H Stewart; Kim L O’Neill; V J McKelvey; E S Gillespie; Samuel R Johnston; J D Biggart; PG McKenna
Why do most primary bladder neoplasms first appear around the ureteric orifices?
British journal of urology 1993;71(1):34-7.
• 1993: Bernadette M Hannigan; Yvonne A Barnett; D B Armstrong; Valerie J McKelvey-Martin; PG McKenna
Thymidine kinases: the enzymes and their clinical usefulness.
Cancer biotherapy 1993;8(3):189-97.
• 1992: Kim L O’Neill; V J McKelvey; M Hoper; H Monteverde; G W Odling-Smee; H Logan; W P Abram; PG McKenna
Breast tumour thymidine kinase levels and disease recurrence.
Medical laboratory sciences 1992;49(4):244-7.
• 1992: M B Livingstone; W A Coward; Andrew M Prentice; P S Davies; John J Strain; PG McKenna; C A Mahoney; J A White; C M Stewart; M J Kerr
Daily energy expenditure in free-living children: comparison of heart-rate monitoring with the doubly labeled water (2H2(18)O) method.
The American journal of clinical nutrition 1992;56(2):343-52.
• 1992: M B Livingstone; Andrew M Prentice; W A Coward; John J Strain; Alison E Black; P S Davies; C M Stewart; PG McKenna; R G Whitehead
Validation of estimates of energy intake by weighed dietary record and diet history in children and adolescents.
The American journal of clinical nutrition 1992;56(1):29-35.
• 1992: Bernadette M Hannigan; S A Richardson; PG McKenna
DNA damage in mammalian cell lines with different antioxidant levels and DNA repair capacities.
• 1991: M B Livingstone; John J Strain; Andrew M Prentice; W A Coward; G B Nevin; Margo E Barker; R J Hickey; PG McKenna; R G Whitehead
Potential contribution of leisure activity to the energy expenditure patterns of sedentary populations.
The British journal of nutrition 1991;65(2):145-55.
• 1991: F M Amara; Y A Wilkinson; P E Ward; C C Thompson; PG McKenna
Nucleotide pools and mutagenic effects of alkylating agents in wild-type and APRT-deficient Friend erythroleukaemia cells.
Mutation research 1991;246(1):151-7.
• 1990: G W Moore; John J Strain; G B Nevin; M B Livingstone; Bernadette M Hannigan; PG McKenna
Blood and urinary measures of oxidant damage in healthy human subjects.
Biochemical Society transactions 1990;18(6):1168-9.
• 1990: John F R Robertson; Kim L O’Neill; M W Thomas; PG McKenna; Roger W Blamey
Thymidine kinase in breast cancer.
British journal of cancer 1990;62(4):663-7.
• 1990: F M Amara; Y A Wilkinson; William S Gilmore; PG McKenna
Hypoxanthine incorporation and nucleotide imbalance in wild-type and adenine phosphoribosyl transferase-deficient Friend leukaemia cells.
Biochemical Society transactions 1990;18(4):618.
• 1990: John J Strain; Margo E Barker; M B Livingstone; PG McKenna
The Northern Ireland dietary survey and related studies.
The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 1990;49(2):289-96.
• 1990: M B Livingstone; Andrew M Prentice; W A Coward; S M Ceesay; John J Strain; PG McKenna; G B Nevin; Margo E Barker; R J Hickey