Matthew Freeman, Head of Department

By any measure the Dunn School is one of the UK’s top biomedical research departments, and it’s an honour to be at the helm. The diversity of the work we do here, broadly described as the cell and molecular biology that underlies human disease, is one of our great strengths. You can learn more about the impact and scope of research within this overarching remit by browsing this website. We are also an integral part of the vibrant South Parks Road Science Campus where we are planning exciting developments that will consolidate Oxford's position as a world-leading centre for biomedical research. 

Our primary focus is research excellence, with a tradition of both fundamental and translational science, but we are also very proud of our teaching. We provide a major part of the preclinical course for medical students, and with Oxford consistently rated among the top medical schools in the world, that is a serious responsibility.

My mission is to enable world beating science at the Dunn School. To do this, we aim for a collegiate and interactive environment where everyone from graduate students to professors can draw on the experience and support of others. For example, we have outstanding core facilities open to all, we organise internal research seminars and symposia, and we encourage students and postdocs to organise their own interdisciplinary networks. We also throw excellent parties.

Diversity and equality of opportunity are central to our goals. To do the best science, we must draw on the full pool of talent from the full spectrum of society. This is self-evident and we have invested great effort into making the Dunn School a model working environment, but I recognise that in order to nurture this we need to routinely scrutinise and challenge ourselves to do more. I am particularly proud of our efforts towards gender equality and a family-friendly working environment. More recently we launched a department-wide anti-bullying campaign and have instigated a series of discussions on BAME representation, important steps towards a more inclusive community.

Famously, the Dunn School has a spectacular history. The discovery of penicillin as a therapeutic must rate among the top medical discoveries of all time and has saved many millions of lives. It is a wonderful example of translating scientific discoveries into benefits for human health. But we have never rested on our laurels, and we continually look into the future, building facilities and developing world-leading technology. This is essential for us to continue attracting the best young scientists from across the world, and to understand biological principles and develop their potential so that we can have an equally beneficial impact on science and medicine in the 21st century.