Pro-Rector for Postgraduate and International Affairs
Imperial College London
Professor Mary Ritter was appointed Pro-Rector for Postgraduate Affairs at Imperial College London in October 2004, and added the International portfolio in October 2005. She headed the Department of Immunology from 2004-March 2006, and from 1999 to February 2006 was Director of the Graduate School of Life Sciences and Medicine (GSLSM) at Imperial.
Professor Ritter was awarded a BA (Hons) in Zoology and a DPhil in Immunology from the University of Oxford. After Research Fellowships at the University of Connecticut, USA, and Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London UK, she took up an academic post at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School – now the Hammersmith Campus of Imperial College London, following the 1997 merger.
She sits on a number of national and international committees including the UK Medical Research Council’s Non-Clinical Careers Training and Development Panel, the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s Modular Training for Industry Panel, the British Federation of Women Graduates Academic Awards Committee and the Programme Review Committee for the Cambridge-MIT Institute. She chairs the UK Research Councils’ “UK GRAD” Steering Committee that oversees the development and delivery of transferable skills at national level, and has been a member of external evaluation and review panels for universities in Finland, Germany and France.
She was the founding Director of the GSLSM at Imperial College, steering the Graduate School through from inception in 1999 to its current overarching role providing interdisciplinary research activities, an extensive skills training programme and quality assurance for all the postgraduate students in the Faculities of Life Sciences and Faculty of Medicine. She subsequently helped to establish Imperial’s second Graduate School, of Engineering and Physical Sciences, launched in 2002. She initiated and is closely involved in both the design and delivery of the Graduate Schools’ postgraduate skills training programme. In addition, she has established new academic taught courses at both bachelor’s and master’s level and regularly teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students in her specialist area of immunology as well as running workshops in transferable skills.
Professor Ritter’s research centres on the development of the immune system, with particular emphasis on the de novo generation of T lymphocytes within the thymus, and the mechanisms that control thymic loss with ageing. This work is aimed at improving immune recovery following clinical bone marrow transplantation and to the possibility of arresting/ameliorating immune decline in the elderly, and she has published extensively in the area. She has supervised the research of more than 40 PhD and Masters’ students, all of whom have successfully gained their degree. She is a member of the UK’s Higher Education Academy.
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