His successful completion of his studies is a new landmark for the institution’s relaunched chemistry department.
David looked at the effects of a key protein involved in the transport of good cholesterol in the human body.
The research, which received funding from the British Heart Foundation, could form an important starting point for the design of drugs to combat cardiac disease.
Dr Townsend’s work also looked at the effects of compounds found in green tea, and their ability to affect the protein.
The former Our Lady’s Catholic College pupil read biochemistry at Liverpool for his undergraduate degree then decided to follow his supervisor Professor David Middleton, who had joined Lancaster’s newly-created chemistry department.
He said: “The quality of the academic staff that Lancaster were recruiting, and the funding they were putting into equipment meant that I felt it would be the best place for me to carry out my research.
“I also quite liked the idea of being one of the first of a new generation of chemists to graduate from Lancaster.”
David has started working in the department as a research associate on a two-year project looking at cardiac proteins also funded through the British Heart Foundation.
Prof Peter Fielden, head of chemistry, said: “This is a very significant first for our department and a demonstration that our research school is fully operational.”
He applauded David’s achievement and added: “I’m certain that David has set the trend for the future, and we’ll see significant and growing numbers of high quality PhD graduates from the chemistry department.”
Lancaster’s chemistry department was reinstated in 2012 and the university has invested £26 million into providing cutting-edge facilities and recruiting world-leading chemists.