Institute for the Study of Social Change

Dianne Nicol

Dianne Nicol

Prof Dianne Nicol

Professor - Chair of Academic Senate

Contact Details

Contact Campus Sandy Bay Campus
Building Faculty of Law Building
Room Reference 2.08
Telephone +61 3 6226 7553
Fax +61 3 6226 7623


I began my academic career many years ago as a scientist, receiving a PhD from Dalhousie University in Canada in 1987. I started studying law after moving to Tasmania in 1992. I was admitted as a barrister and solicitor to the Supreme Court of Tasmania and the High Court of Australia in 1998 and spent some time in legal practice. I commenced work as an academic at the University of Tasmania in 2000 and was appointed as full Professor in 2009. 

My teaching focuses on primarily on the interface between technology and the law, with particular focus on intellectual property law. I have served as Deputy Dean of the Law Faculty and Associate Dean, Research. In January 2013 I took on the role of Chair of Academic Senate. I have been able to continue with my research during my tenure as Academic Senate Chair and have continued supervising PhD and Honours students. However, I have only been able to teach Biotechnology Law summer school unit for the past couple of years.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. J Liddicoat, T Whitton and D Nicol, 'Gene Patent Storm Clouds Dissipating? A Global Snapshot' (2015) accepted by Nature Biotechnology.
  2. RE McWhirter, C Critchley, D Nicol, D Chalmers, T Whitton, M Otlowski, M Burgess and JL Dickinson, 'Community Engagement for Big Epidemiology: Deliberative Democracy as a Tool' (2014) 4 Journal of Personalised Medicine 457-474.
  3. D Nicol, J Nielsen, C Critchley, J Liddicoat and T Whitton, The Innovation Pool in Biotechnology: the Role of Patents in Facilitating Innovation (Hobart: Centre for Law and Genetics Occasional Paper No. 8; 2014).
  4. J Nielsen, D Nicol and J Liddicoat, 'Sharing the Burden of Australian Drug Discovery and Development: Collaborative Trends in Translational Research' (2014) Intellectual Property Quarterly 181-209.
  5. E van Zimmeren, D Nicol, ER Gold, J Carbone, S Chandrasekharan, AL Baldwin and R Cook-Deegan, 'The BRCA Patent Controversies: an International Review of Patent Disputes' in S Gibbon, G Joseph, J Mozersky, A zur Nieden and S Palfner (eds) Breast Cancer Gene Research and Medical Practices: Transnational Perspectives in the Time of BRCA (Routledge, 2014) Chapter 8 pp151-174.
  6. D Nicol and O Owoeye, 'Time for Rich Countries to Enact TRIPS-compliant Legislation to Facilitate Access to Medicines by Poorer Countries?' (2013) 91 Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 533-539.
  7. D Nicol and J Liddicoat, 'Do Patents Impede the Provision of Genetic Tests in Australia?' (2013) 37 (3) Australian Health Review 281-285.
  8. D Nicol and M Hagger, 'Direct To Consumer Genetic Testing – A Regulatory Nightmare?' (2013) 198 Medical Journal of Australia 501-502.
  9. T Bubela, ER Gold, GD Graff, DR Cahoy, D Nicol and D Castle, 'Patent Landscaping for Life Sciences Innovation: Toward Consistent and Transparent Practices' (2013) 31 Nature Biotechnology 201-206.
  10. D Chalmers, D Nicol, M Otlowski and C Critchley, 'Personalised Medicine in the Genome Era' (2013) 20 Journal of Law and Medicine 577-594.

For a full list of publications, grants and consultancies and postgraduate supervision see:  Web Access Research Portal (WARP)

See more information about Prof Nicol's BRCA Patent Law Suit Project.

Research Interests

The broad theme of my research in the law discipline is the regulation of biotechnology and human genetics. I am particularly interested in the commercialisation of genetic knowledge and patenting of genetic inventions. I am currently the lead chief investigator on two Australian Research Council funded projects, one on the role of material transfer agreements in facilitating the research commons, the other on the role of law in the era of personalised medicine.

View Di's detailed research profile.