The University of Melbourne is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor John Fazakerley as its new Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences (FVAS).

Professor Fazakerley is an internationally respected virologist who has more than 35 years of experience as a director, an academic and a researcher into infectious diseases of animals.

Professor Fazakerley will be the second Dean of the Faculty, which was established in 2014 through a merger of the Faculty of Veterinary Science and the Department of Food and Agriculture.

Provost Margaret Sheil said Professor Fazakerley's appointment was a significant coup for the University and follows an extensive worldwide search.

"We are delighted that John will be joining us as Dean at this exciting time in the life of both the Faculty and the University," Professor Sheil said.

"Throughout his career, he has been a strong advocate of scientific research as well as a highly engaged teacher and a leader”.

"Those attributes will be a huge asset to us as we strive to make Melbourne University the best institution in the world for both learning and innovative research."

Professor Fazakerley was most recently the Director of the UK's Pirbright Institute, a research centre focusing on virus diseases of livestock and viruses that spread from animals to humans. Prior to that he was Professor of Virology in the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School in Edinburgh and the Roslin Institute. He has also held positions at Cambridge in the UK and at the University of Pennsylvania and the Scripps Research Institute in the United States.

An author of more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, Professor Fazakerley said that in addition to teaching and research, he was keen to ensure that the Faculty shares knowledge and boosts engagement with the public.

"This is an important and exciting time for agriculture, veterinary medicine and food science and I'm very pleased to be joining the University as Dean," Professor Fazakerley said.

“The Faculty has extensive and important facilities including the Dookie agricultural campus and the Werribee veterinary clinic as well as specialised research and teaching facilities and has plans to ensure that these are upgraded and maintained to the highest international standards.”

“In both agriculture and veterinary medicine, and their associated sciences, the University of Melbourne has a long and distinguished history of delivering positive socio-economic and health impacts locally, regionally, nationally and globally and it is a privilege and honour to be able to lead that contribution."

Professor Fazakerley will commence his role in July and Associate Professor Brian Leury will continue in his role as Acting Dean.

"We are enormously grateful to Professor Leury for his continued commitment to leading the Faculty during this interim period," Professor Sheil said.