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Keble college announces new Warden

Isaac Ettinghausen reports.

Last week, Keble College announced the selection of Dr Sir Michael Jacobs as the new Warden. He will take office in Michaelmas Term 2022, replacing Sir Jonathan Phillips. He currently serves as Clinical Director of Infectious Diseases at the Royal Free Hospital. 

Dr Jacobs said: “I am deeply honoured to have been elected as the next Warden of Keble College. I work with an exceptionally talented, dedicated and principled team at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust who have made incredible things happen in healthcare. I am thrilled to be joining a similar team in the higher education sector who continue to build on the proud and distinctive history of Keble College. The College was founded to broaden the social depth of the student body and I feel extremely privileged to be joining an outstanding place to work and study that is determinedly excellent, progressive, socially responsible and compassionate.”

Keble’s website listed Dr Jacobs’ main medical interests as “the most serious viral infections and medical countermeasures to combat them”. He was educated in Medicine at St John’s College, Oxford and St Bartholomew Hospital Medical School. He then trained as a physician specialising in infectious disease at Imperial College London.

The website also noted that Dr Jacobs “has a major interest in medical education and has had several leadership roles in postgraduate training programmes and examinations”. He served as a Wellcome Advanced Fellow at UCL between 2000 and 2004, and has published several research papers while serving in the NHS. 

He has chaired and participated in multiple advisory boards on dangerous viral infections and served as NHS England’s program director for High Consequence Infective Diseases.

In this role he was at the centre of the UK’s response to the Ebola crisis and led the team who treated Britain’s three patients. In 2016’s New Year’s Honours, he was knighted for his work on infectious diseases. The same team treated the UK’s first COVID-19 cases and continue to respond to the ongoing public health situation as the pandemic evolves. Dr Jacobs is currently taking part on UK, EU, and WHO programmes on vaccines and therapeutic drugs targeting COVID-19.

Outgoing Warden Sir Phillips has worked at Keble since 2010, following a senior role in the Civil Service where he served as Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland office. His tenure as Warden saw the opening of the HB Allen Centre, which houses over 200 graduate students, as well as the extension of the College’s outreach program.

Sir Phillips commented “I am really delighted that Michael Jacobs has been chosen to succeed me as Warden of Keble. He will bring great energy and enthusiasm to the role and his wide-ranging experience and distinction as a physician make him an ideal person to take our whole community forward in developing this wonderful institution.” 

Image Credit: Dimitry B/CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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