He has a particular interest in promoting the interface between academia and the National Health Service.
Sir Christopher was the first Principal of the Imperial College School of Medicine in London. He was responsible for the merger of:
- Royal Postgraduate Medical School at the Hammersmith Hospital
- Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School
- National Heart and Lung Institute at the Royal Brompton Hospital
- Imperial College
Sir Christopher previously held a number of senior posts at Edinburgh University. This included Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.
He was President of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland from 1999 to 2000. He chaired the Council of Heads of Medical Schools from 1998 to 2000. He was a governor of the Wellcome Trust from 1994 to 2005.
During his time as Vice-Chancellor, Sir Christopher provided invaluable investment in PEALS. He oversaw a period of sustained growth for Newcastle University. This continues today with major developments such as:
- Newcastle Science City
- the Cultural Quarter
- £200m investment programme in the University campus and facilities