University of the South Pacific has appointed former Newcastle University director of research in the School of Biology as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International).
USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra announced Prof John Bythell's appointment via a statement yesterday.
"I am honoured to be given the opportunity to take on the challenge of directing the research and international portfolio at USP," Prof Bythell said via the statement.
"The trajectory, ethos, international standing and unique resources available as a South Pacific regional centre is all excellent and I have no doubt that the university can achieve its goals of becoming a world-class, research-led university," he said, adding he looks forward to working at USP.
A USP statement said his primary research was focused on molecular microbial ecology of emergent diseases in reef corals and understanding the stress responses of corals to environmental change.
At Newcastle University, Prof Bythell specialised in coral reef biology and he led the Coral Health and Disease Laboratory at Newcastle, with continuing and recent research programs in Australia, the Caribbean, Solomon Islands and Thailand.
He was one of four UK scientists involved in the Coral Reef Targeted Research Program (GEF/World Bank), as part of the coral Bleaching Working Group. He also acted as theme leader for marine environmental systems research across the university and was involved in the preparations for the UK Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment of research quality.
Prof Chandra congratulated Prof Bythell and said he was confident that he would provide excellent leadership in both areas of research and international and work collaboratively with the Deans, Director of Research and other members of the university's senior management team.
He also acknowledged Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning, Teaching and Student Services) Prof Susan Kelly for looking after the research portfolio, the director of research, Dr Jito Vanualailai and Prof Frank Larkins who served as research advisers.
Among his other accomplishments, Prof Bythell also acts on the UNESCO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission ad hoc committee on coral bleaching and is on the program committee of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Sciences Association, Marine Science and Management Program that manages and distributes research funding across east Africa and the western Indian Ocean on behalf of the Swedish development agency SIDA.