Uni Melbourne acting head of school appointed to Deakin

The Deakin University optometry program continues to gather momentum with the appointment of University of Melbourne optometry acting head of department, Dr Alex Gentle.
Dr Gentle has been appointed to the concurrent roles of Professor in Vision Science and Director of Pre-Clinical Studies. That follows on from the recent show of support by the Victotria government, in the form of $7 million towards the facility that will be home to Deakin optometry.
After completing his optometry training at City University, London, Dr Gentle has been at the University of Melbourne since 1998. He was placed charge of the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences following the surprise standing down of Professor Neville McBrien on 14 February.
Dr Gentle has worked in the related fields of scleral matrix biology and ocular growth control since the commencent of his PhD studies. Prior to that, his honours thesis won him the Naylor Prize in the United Kingdom. He has post-graduate qualifications in teaching and ocular therapeutics.
He has established a solid reputation in the field of myopia and ocular growth regulation and his publication record, in high-ranking vision science and medium/high impact biological sciences journals, has steadily grown since the award of his PhD in 1999.
Dr Gentle has been a teaching and research acadic since 2002 and was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne in 2005. He currently chairs the department’s curriculum development committee.
Deakin optometry head, Professor Harry Weisinger, says he is thrilled with the appointment. “Alex is a fantastic addition to our growing team, and provides an injection of knowledge and acadic credibility. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the prier optometry teaching and learning acadic in Australia today – possessing the necessary elents to ensure Deakin becomes one of the finest optometry schools in the world. Alex is very popular among staff and students alike, has a history of execution, and is also a bloody good squash player! I’ve already starting training in preparation for his arrival”.
Dr Gentle plans to relocate to Geelong with his family later this year. He will take up his new appointment at the commencent of 2012, while three other senior appointees will join the Deakin staff towards the end of this year.
Deakin has also appointed:
Dr. Sharon Bentley,who has been appointed senior lecturer in optometry. She is a well-known optometry acadic with a breadth of experience including clinical teaching, low vision, epidiology, and public health. Currently she is the Public Health and Churchill Research Fellow, Population Health at the Centre for Eye Research Australia. Dr Holly Chinnery is joining from the Anatomy Department at Monash University and will be a lecturer in vision science. Dr Chinnery, an ocular immunologist, has been prolific, producing a dozen highly-ranked publications and developing worldwide collaborative networks in just two years since completing her PhD with Professor Paul McMenamin.
Professor Weisinger explained that Deakin is also soon to announce the final appointment in its starting acadic team. “We will announce our new Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Studies in August or Septber. While the appointment has been made, the individual wishes to withhold the release for the moment.
What I will say is that I am absolutely thrilled to have this person joining our team. Another massive win for Deakin and its future students!

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