Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine

Regius Professor of Medicine, Sir John Bell, to step down from Oxford role

The University of Oxford has announced today that Professor Sir John Bell will step down from his role as Regius Professor of Medicine on 31 March, to take up the new position of President of Ellison Institute of Technology (EIT) Oxford. He will also become Co-CEO of EIT Global, alongside Dr David Agus.

Professor Sir John Bell’s connection with Oxford stretches back 50 years, when he arrived from Canada as a Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College. Since then, Sir John has made significant contributions to both the University and the UK’s life sciences endeavours, and his ground breaking research has contributed significantly to our understanding of immune activation in a range of autoimmune diseases.

Returning to Oxford as a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow in 1987, Sir John became the Nuffield Professor of Clinical Medicine in 1992, and in 1993 founded Oxford’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, one of the world’s leading centres for complex trait common disease genetics. He subsequently led the development of the University’s Old Road Campus, now one of the largest centres for biomedical research in Europe.

For many years Sir John has advised the UK government on a wide array of topics, and during the Covid-19 pandemic was pivotal in enabling the development of lateral flow testing platforms and helping to initiate a national testing programme. He also played a major role in the development and roll out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

Professor Sir John Bell has been for several decades an enormously impactful and fantastic colleague as well as mentor to many at Oxford and beyond. JB, as we fondly call him, is a giant in the field of medical science, and we are thrilled that he will be able to continue to contribute his enormous energy, vision and talent by establishing EIT Oxford as a key part of the Oxford ecosystem and wider UK research base.

I am excited by what we can achieve together by working collaboratively and in partnership, especially through our innovative Ellison Scholars programme that the University is hosting. I wish him and all the Ellison team every success and I look forward to continuing to work with John.

Professor Irene Tracey, 
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University

He was knighted for services to medicine, medical research and the life science industry in 2015, and in 2023 was appointed a Companion of Honour in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

Sir John will lead multi-disciplinary teams at EIT Oxford – a major new interdisciplinary research and development facility that will support EIT’s mission to develop and deploy technology in pursuit of solving humanity’s most challenging and enduring problems.