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Co-head of Burnet Institute’s Centre for Biomedical Research, Professor James Beeson’s contribution to medical research has been recognised with the Institute’s prestigious Fenner Award.
The Fenner Award acknowledges significant contribution to Burnet’s vision and mission in the areas of medical research and public health, and is named after the great Australian virologist, the late Professor Frank Fenner AC.
Professor Beeson joined Burnet in 2011 and has worked in malaria research in Africa and Asia for more than 15 years.
“It’s a great honour and privilege to receive the Fenner Award,” Professor Beeson said ahead of his presentation of the Fenner Lecture at the AMREP Lecture Theatre on Wednesday.
“I’m inspired by the work done at Burnet and the commitment to global health and to addressing the health needs of marginalised and disadvantaged communities in Australia and internationally.
“The award is really an acknowledgement of a team effort and should be shared by everyone in the group.
“We get fantastic support and it’s a wonderful environment in the Centre for Biomedical Research, and of course, none of this would be possible without the other members of the malaria program, the executive and the board.”
IMAGE: Professor Beeson and his research team from the Beeson Laboratory
Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb said Professor Beeson’s research addresses significant and novel questions in malaria.
“Why women in their first pregnancy are more susceptible to malaria than other people in the community and other women in subsequent pregnancies, James has tackled that,” Professor Crabb said.
“Why and how people become immune to malaria over time, and why mechanistically does that happen, that’s another thing James had tackled.
“But just as important has been his linking his own high-quality laboratory research to the field, which is exactly what we’re trying to do here at Burnet, particularly in the developing world.
“It takes a person with special interests and special qualities that go beyond just scientific capacity.”
The Beeson Laboratory primarily focuses on understanding how malaria causes disease in people and how immunity to malaria develops, and on the development of interventions to reduce malaria such as vaccines or public health programs.
Their research currently involves clinical and population studies in Papua New Guinea, Africa and Asia.
To view Professor Beeson’s Fenner Lecture, entitled Malaria, and maternal and child health: Looking to the future in full, go to Burnet’s YouTube Channel.