Founder of University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) Medicine’s department of neurology, Emeritus Professor James Lance passed away on February 20, 2019 at the age of 92.
He joined the University of New South Wales in 1961.
Professor Lance was born in Wollongong in 1926 and completed his medical degree at the University of Sydney in 1950. He began his clinical work at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as a resident medical officer (1950-51). During his residency Professor Lance took up a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) fellowship at the University of Sydney (1952-53) to work towards his Doctor of Medicine (MD, awarded 1955).
In 1954 Professor Lance travelled to London, England to train as a neurologist and accepted a position as assistant house physician at the National Hospital in Queen Square.
Upon his return to Australia, Professor Lance combined teaching and clinical practise with appointments as tutor at St Paul’s College (1956-60), visiting lecturer at the University of Sydney (1956-62), superintendent at the Northcott Neurological Centre (1956-57) and honorary assistant physician at Sydney Hospital (1956-61) and St Luke’s Hospital (1957-61).
In 1960, Professor Lance once again left Australia to follow his passion for research work at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Professor Lance returned to Australia as the founder of the department of neurology in the newly established medical school at the UNSW. He remained at UNSW throughout his professional career starting as senior lecturer (1961-63), then associate professor (1964-74), professor of neurology – personal chair (1975-92) and as emeritus professor.
Concurrent with his research, Professor Lance continued his clinical practise at the Prince Henry and Prince of Wales Hospitals where he was chairman of the department of neurology (1961-92) and foundation director of the Institute of Neurological Sciences (INS, 1990-91).
Professor Lance was interviewed by Professor David Burke for the Australian Academy of Science in 2010.