Leading pharmacologist and nutrition research leader Professor Richard Head commenced as Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President Research and Innovation in March 2013. His substantive position is as Director of the Sansom Institute for Health Research which he commenced in August 2012.
Prior to his appointment at the Institute, Professor Head was Director of the CSIRO’s Preventative Health National Flagship (2002-2012) where he led a national research program to advance early detection and intervention of chronic diseases; some of his notable achievement in that role included establishing AIBL (the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship study of ageing) and founding Australia’s largest research grouping into early detection of colorectal cancer.
The author of 174 publications, his research interests centre around understanding the protective action of dietary constituents in human health; some of his pivotal research findings have included illuminating the role played by exaggerated sympathetic innervation in hypertension disease, demonstrating impaired vascular contraction in diabetes, demonstrating the vascular protective role of long chain fatty acids, defining the pharmokinetics of isoflavones, and demonstrating the roles of butyrate in inducing program cell death in cancer cells.
Professor Head is a member of numerous advisory committees, including the Scientific Advisory Council for the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and the Australian e-Health Research Centre Board. Professor Head was awarded the prestigious CSIRO 2012 Lifetime Achievement Medal in October 2012.