Professor Chang appointed as new NICM HRI Director

30 June 2021

NICM Health Research Institute (NICM HRI) today announced the selection of Professor Dennis Chang, as director of the Institute, effective from 1 July 2021.

“Professor Chang has been an important member of our leadership team over the past 10 years, making a significant contribution to the strategic planning and development of our institute,” said former and founding NICM HRI Director and Emeritus Professor Alan Bensoussan.

“He is ideally suited to lead NICM HRI, bringing exceptional experience, scientific and administrative to the role and is respected for his leadership and scientific credentials in both preclinical and clinical research in integrative medicine, as well as his teaching experience as a Professor of Pharmacology.”

Since May 2020, Professor Chang has served as acting director of NICM HRI. In his previous role as associate director, he led the Institute’s international engagement program and attracted partnerships with many prestigious international and national universities, research organisations and pharmaceutical and herbal medicine industry.

Professor Chang also previously served a number of academic leadership roles within Western Sydney University including Research Director of School of Science and Health between 2012 and 2014 and Associate Head of School of Biomedical and Health Science between 2006 and 2011. He initially trained in medicine and received postgraduate training in pharmacology.

As the leading investigator of several significant clinical trials, Professor Chang’s research projects have centred around evaluating herbal medicine, yoga and tai chi for the treatment of dementia, mild cognitive impairment, coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. He has also been involved in preclinical research to evaluate molecular mechanisms and synergistic interactions of active components of herbal medicine.

His research has been supported by various competitive funding agencies, governments and industry totalling $7M. Professor Chang has published more than 90 research papers across a broad range of high-quality peer-reviewed journals such as British Journal of Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Drug, and Journal of Translational Medicine.

As NICM HRI director, Professor Chang will oversee the scientific research and direction of the Institute in alignment to Western Sydney University’s Sustaining Success 2021-2026.

With a relationship centred approach to the NICM HRI directorship, Professor Chang says he plans to maintain and build upon the institute’s existing initiatives, research collaborations, and partnerships under his stewardship.

“We will continue to expand our research on some key emerging fields such as medicinal cannabis and Australian bush medicine and Ayurveda,” said Professor Chang.

“Through our ongoing commitment to rigorous scientific investigation and innovation, we will continue to strengthen our global reputation in research excellence and build capacity as a powerful advocate of evidence-based integrative healthcare.

“I’m excited for what our future holds, and as the second NICM HRI Director, I am humbled and honoured to be a steward of this world-class research institute.

“I would like to thank Alan for his 15 years of stewardship, igniting and sustaining the growth of NICM HRI and as our founding director, for continuing to inspire us with his commitment to serve NICM HRI and our community.”