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Professor Jon Austyn has won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Medical Sciences Division 2023 Teaching Excellence Awards.

Professor Jon Austyn at his retirement party
Professor Austyn at his retirement party, which was held at the Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford

Professor Austyn, who was presented with the award at a ceremony at Oxford Town Hall, was Professor of immunobiology and Course Director of the MSc in Integrated Immunology at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS).

The award recognises a lifelong commitment to learning and a relentless dedication to teaching, and improving the teaching of immunology. For his unwavering enthusiasm, his consistent engagement with the entirety of the large and diverse immunology research and clinical community in Oxford.

There was a huge amount of support for his Lifetime Achievement nomination, including:

  • ”I could not think of a more amazing educator, mentor and scientist who has not only been the key person who has made the MSc in Integrated Immunology course such a shining success, but also set the standard for immunology education through a life-time of dedication to excellence in immunology. He has inspired the next generation of scientists and clinicians equipped to deliver on their potential.” [Senior Academic]
  • “The course has been the most formative year of my professional career and had a positive impact on my career prospects.” [Student feedback]

Joining NDS In 1983 as Lecturer in Transplantation Immunology and, later, Reader in Immunobiology, Professor Austyn then went on to develop the MSc in Integrated Immunology together with Professor Helen Chapel. The course was launched in 2004-2005 and after Professor Chapel retired in 2010, Professor Austyn continued to run the course in NDS as the sole course director.

The MSc course in Integrated Immunology is one of only a few in the world focused on this subject. A total of 316 students have successfully completed the course, with 22 students in Professor Austyn's final cohort, and not a single student has failed the course since its inception.

Alongside the MSc course, Professor Austyn led the Clinical and Applied Immunology 4th year option for Biochemistry students and Molecular & Cellular Immunology lecture series for 3rd year students. He was also Director of Graduate Studies for NDS for more than 17 years and supervised over 15 DPhil students himself in the department. Since 2016, he has taught on the Beutler Institute course in Xiamen, China, and has been academic coordinator since 2019.

In addition, Professor Austyn has planned and fully developed a new part-time distance learning course in Integrated Immunology, from idea to full proposal. The first cohort of students will be recruited in the winter of 2023/24 and start the course in September 2024.

David Vaux, Chair of the Medical Sciences Teaching Excellence Awards Selection Panel, said: ‘This Divisional tribute formally acknowledges the high quality and sustained commitment to education demonstrated by individual members of staff, throughout a career in the service of Oxford. Jon’s continued presence in Oxford since we first met in the autumn of 1978 has ensured that generations of students have learned to appreciate the innate beauty of the immune system, and to share our regard for mononuclear phagocytes.’

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Awards on the Medical Sciences Division website.