Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content

Tributes paid to inspirational lecturer and dedicated researcher

Home / More / News / Tributes paid to inspirational lecturer and dedicated researcher

Published on 26 June 2020

Paul Franklin
Paul Franklin

Tributes have been paid to a much-loved member of the Health Sciences team who died suddenly this week.   

Staff, students and close friends have been sharing their condolences following the sad news that Dr Paul Franklin had passed away, aged 54, on Tuesday. 

Described as an “inspirational character”, Paul was a senior lecturer in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and had dedicated himself to all aspects of pharmacology, physiology, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences at the University and in partnership with SEGi (Malaysia) and SPACE (Hong Kong) for many years. 

Paul, from Washington , was educated at St Roberts of Newminster  RC school in Washington. He began his academic life at Sunderland, graduating with a BSc in Pharmacology in 1988. He followed his degree with a PhD in 1992 investigating zinc homeostasis in the brain under the supervision of Dr Bob Pullen.   

He then worked as a visiting lecturer at the University and undertook postdoctoral research looking at drugs and mitochondrial function. He was a permanent member of academic staff from 2006 initially as lecturer, then as senior lecturer, contributing to our undergraduate and postgraduate provision and research activities in the broad subject areas of pharmacology, physiology and clinical therapeutics.  

Dr Adrian Moore, Head of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “Paul was an inspirational character that we have been blessed to have as a friend and colleague for many years.  

“He was passionate about his work and was able to blend expert knowledge of his diverse subject areas to deliver innovative and engaging teaching in his own unique way - he was a pretty good golfer as well! All who knew him will recognise the sentiment when I say ‘Cheers, Paul!’.  

“He will be a great miss to us all and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.” 

Sir David Bell KCB, Vice-Chancellor of the University, expressed his sadness on behalf of the University and sent his condolences to Paul’s family. 

He said: “Paul was very much ‘one of us’, given that his connection to the University went all the way back to him being an undergraduate student here. From that point on, his impact on the University was profound; as a teacher, researcher, colleague and friend.    

“Everyone at the University is shocked by Paul’s sudden and untimely death. His family is very much in our thoughts at this desperately sad time.”  

Close friend, colleague and doctoral supervisor Tony Markham, Professor of Pharmacology, said Paul played a major role in a research collaboration, alongside himself, with Sunderland graduate Professor Michael Spedding, of pharmaceutical company Servier in Paris, France, designed to identify potential mechanisms associated with the onset, development and treatment of disease associated with the central nervous system.

“Paul’s skills, up-to-date knowledge and application were outstanding," explained Tony. “He was a most generous man, who would never let anyone down and probably in an another life could have been a champion golfer!”

Professor Tony Alabaster, Academic Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, commented: “Paul was a much-loved and high respected member of the team who made an outstanding contribution to the Faculty. We are extremely proud of all he had achieved since beginning his academic career with us at Sunderland. Our deepest sympathies go to his family at this very sad time.”  

Students have also expressed their shock and sadness at the news. A message from Sunderland Pharmaceutical Students' Association (SPSA) read: "With saddened hearts the SPSA and its members at the University of Sunderland would like to offer their sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr Paul Franklin. 

“As we say goodbye to Dr Franklin, we remember him as a dedicated senior lecturer, teaching in areas such as pharmacology, therapeutics and physiology. 

“His teaching on the MPharm programme has been paramount from level one to level four. He has played a major role in the education of our pharmacy students, both current and alumni, he will be dearly missed. 

“Dr Franklin, we thank you for your contribution and the gift of your knowledge, we salute you!”  

Paul leaves behind his mother Jeanne Franklin and sister Joanne Haslam.