Professor Neville Yeomans, Austin Health Director of Research to retire


Ahead of Professor Neville Yeomans' retirement early next month, he spoke with us about his career highlights.

His passion for research began by chance.

"Well it goes back to the Alfred Hospital in 1969 when I passed my specialist exams, I got through on my first attempt. A young Professor of Medicine, Barry Firkin, dragged me, protesting, to the laboratory to do research. This sparked a deep inquisitiveness in me".

This led to him achieving an impressive figure of over 180 publications in peer reviewed journals.

Prof Yeomans’ first association with Austin Health began over 41 years ago, when he worked as a Clinician Researcher in the Department of Medicine and Gastroenterology Unit.

He has also held appointments at the Royal Melbourne, Alfred, Austin and Western hospitals. His international post-doctoral positions include the University of Copenhagen and Harvard University.

Many of his research studies were funded by the National Health and Research Council and they have resulted in improvements in the way patients are screened and managed.

Prof Yeomans returned to Austin Health as Director of Research in 2010.

"Austin Hospital is a friendly place. It’s the type of hospital where people will wait and hold the door open for you. This is one of the many reasons I wanted to work here again."

During this time, Prof Yeomans' outstanding expertise, clinical skills and strong leadership has raised awareness of the world-class biomedical research being carried out by Austin Health’s LifeSciences.

"I’m proud to have worked for Austin Health, they provide very good patient care, the staff work together cooperatively and it is the preferred site for many universities to send their students."

"There’s research that strongly suggests that people are safer in great university teaching hospitals."

In 2013 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his significant service to tertiary education, research and clinical practice in the field of medicine.

Prof Yeomans has mentored and supervised a number of medical students and has provided statistical support to a number of researchers at Austin Health.

He reflected on the achievements of Austin Health staff during his time as Director of Research.

"Rinaldo Bellomo is a Professor of intensive care medicine; he’s the most cited in his field in the whole world. It was with great pride that I put Rinaldo forward for the Royal Australasian award, which he received in 2014."

"In 2014, Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO and Professor Samuel Berkovic AC were together awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Science for their long-standing partnership on cracking the genetics of epilepsy."

"This kind of recognition is reflection on the dedication, vision and high quality work we’re doing at Austin."

"For researchers, there can be many disappointments. I say, be brave and persevere. The end result is well worth it."

Prof Yeomans is currently studying a Masters of Arts Degree at the University of Melbourne. He will be retiring from Austin Health in February.

"We’re very grateful for Neville Yeomans' leadership of our research directorate over the past 8 years,"  said Chief Executive Sue Shilbury.

"We celebrate his achievements and thank him for his unique contribution to Austin Health and to medicine."

A farewell celebration will be held honouring Prof Yeomans.