THE University of York has become the first university in the UK to appoint a professor of acupuncture research.

Dr Hugh MacPherson, who works in the department of health sciences at the university, initially trained as an acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner in the 1980s, before founding the Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA), based in Micklegate in York.

He accepted a position as senior research fellow at the department of health sciences at the University of York in 2003.

Since then has had a focus on research into acupuncture’s effectiveness for different conditions, its safety, its cost-effectiveness and the possible mechanisms that might explain how the therapy works.

His clinical trials have involved acupuncture for a range of conditions, including low back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and neck pain, all of which are often challenging conditions to treat with conventional medical interventions.

Dr MacPherson’s neuroimaging studies have attracted considerable scientific interest as well as featuring on TV programmes such as BBC Science and BBC’s Trust Me I Am A Doctor.

Dr MacPherson took over his role on October 1.

He said: “It is a privilege and honour to be recognised by one of the UK’s leading universities in this way.

“As Professor of Acupuncture Research, I will continue to apply the very best of evidence-based medical research to the field of acupuncture.”