Professor Jon Skinner's inaugural lecture -'I don’t have to blame myself anymore’ Event as iCalendar

16 August 2017

5:30 - 7pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 505-007, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Location: 85 Park Road, Grafton Campus

*RSVP by Monday 7 August by clicking here *

Please state the name of the Professor whose lecture you wish to attend on the subject line of your email.

Prof Skinner

Our annual inaugural lecture series provide a way for our faculty to celebrate and recognise the mark of distinction conferred by the University when it awards the title of professor.

Join us to celebrate the inaugural lecture of Professor Jon Skinner.


‘I don’t have to blame myself anymore’

I am surprised to find myself both impossibly old, and a Professor. The age thing is just for me, but the Professorship I want to share. I share it with my colleagues in the Cardiac Inherited Disease Group who have allowed me to achieve so much from their hard work, and with my original research mentors in the UK- Dr. Edmund Hey, neonatologist, and Stewart Hunter, paediatric cardiologist, both remarkably gifted clinicians and kind, generous people. 

It’s a shame I left it to this age before getting a professorship - so my parents, Bob and Hilda Skinner, are no longer with us for me to brag to, but maybe my kids Anna Ellie and George, and my wife Karen will be tolerant enough to listen.

My talk will be of the turns and twists of fate that have pushed me along into various directions both geographically and professionally, and ended up with me stumbling into an area of research that I am passionate about.  I will talk of the families who have suffered the unfathomable loss of a child through sudden death, and how this fired a spark in me to get some answers for them. Research it had to be, for there were no answers in regular clinical medicine.  Maybe some of the answers lay in the genes?

In medical school in the late 70’s, I didn’t really understand genetics, and certainly didn’t appreciate its forthcoming relevance.  Now I find myself consulting and collaborating with doctors and researchers all across the globe, while realizing that I still understand very little of this massive field.  Still more extraordinary to find myself partnering, with Annika Winbo and Jo Montgomery, the development of human cardiac cell lines which beat away in our Petri dishes at the University of Auckland.  Maybe we can cure some of these wretched diseases. 

The significance of the title of my talk will become clear to those who come to hear my story, thank you for indulging me. 



Professor Jon Skinner was born in Birmingham in England in 1959 and raised in Kenilworth and High Wycombe Royal He played a lot of rugby and the cornet in a number of brass bands.

He was in the third year to go through the new Leicester medical school, qualifying in 1981 aged 21, and went straight into paediatrics in Nottingham and Newcastle upon Tyne.  Two years in Newcastle Australia, then he researched for his thesis in the newborn circulation back in Newcastle England again, after which he wrote the textbook “Echocardiography for the Neonatologist”.

Drawn then into paediatric cardiology Professor Skinner returned to Birmingham for two years before leaving for Berlin, then Bristol, then Hamburg to train in cardiac electrophysiology. He landed in Auckland in May 1998 and has established the children’s arrhythmia, ablation and pacing service and co-developed New Zealand’s Cardiac Inherited Disease Service, whilst raising three children with his wife Karen.

Professor Skinner chairs the genetic council of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, and the Trans Tasman Response Against sudden Death the Young (TRAGADY) which he founded. He is advisor to overseas sudden death and inherited heart condition programs and on the editorial board of Heart Rhythm.  He has authored 120 peer reviewed scientific articles, with most recently a focus on sudden cardiac death and cardiac ion channelopathies. He has written a text book and several chapters in various medical texts.

Qualifications: MB ChB, DCH, MRCP(UK), FRACP, FCSANZ, FHRS, MD. 


Invite open to FMHS staff and students

Date: Wednesday 16 August, 5.30-7pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 505-007, Grafton Campus


Prior to the inaugural lecture, we will gather in the atrium for a cocktail function as a further recognition of Professor Skinner’s achievements.

Please RSVP by Monday 7 August by clicking here

*We have a large number of inaugural lectures this year.  To avoid confusion we ask that when you RSVP, you state which inaugural lecture you will be attending.


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