Burnet salutes recognition of infectious diseases pioneers

Burnet Institute

20 May, 2011

Professor Alan Cowman of WEHI. Photo courtesy of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

The Royal Society is 351 years old and is used to give advice to government, engage in debate on scientific issues and provide funding support for young scientists.

Professors Cowman and Frazer are two of just 1450 Fellows and join the elite ranks of 75 Nobel Laureates and names like Professor Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Burnet Director and CEO Brendan Crabb says Australia punches well above its weight in the field of medical research, and an international title of this significance and prestige gives weight to that.

Professor Frazer developed the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines, Gardasil, which protects unexposed women against four HPV strains responsible for 70 per cent of cervical cancers.

Burnet Associate Professor David Anderson said the vaccines are now being rolled out in most developed countries and are having an immediate as well as long-term impact on cancer deaths and disease.

“The medical impact of the HPV vaccines and Ian’s continuing commitment to translation of research into practice has helped to inspire and re-shape medical research in Australia, and sets an example that the Burnet Institute strives to emulate,” Associate Professor Anderson said.

Professor Alan Cowman has made significant contributions to understanding drug resistance in relation to malaria drugs, which has had important implications in the development of new anti-malaria medications.

Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb said Professor Cowman’s more recent work has shed light on the potential of a malaria vaccine.

“Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet’s pioneering research in infectious diseases lives on through Cowman and Frazer.”

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Burnet Institute

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