Professor Sharon Lewin wins Research Australia award

Angus Morgan

19 November, 2015

Burnet Institute board member and former Co-Head of Burnet’s Centre for Biomedical Research, Professor Sharon Lewin is the 2015 recipient of one of Research Australia’s most prestigious honours, the Peter Mills Medal.

Awarded for advancing Australia’s international reputation within the research sector, the medal was presented at the 2015 Research Australia Awards Dinner at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne on Wednesday night.

Professor Lewin’s HIV research, which started at Burnet, is continuing in her role as Director of the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at Melbourne University.

Professor Lewin said that while a cure for HIV is proving elusive, effective treatment has improved dramatically over the past 20 years.

“We now have outstanding treatment for HIV that has actually converted HIV from what was once a death sentence into a chronic manageable disease,” Professor Lewin told ABC Radio National.

“People diagnosed with HIV today have a normal life expectancy … but there still is an urgent need for a vaccine because it’s a far more effective way to reach everyone and prevent them from getting infected.”

The Research Australia Awards acknowledge individuals and corporations who have made an outstanding effort and impact in the areas of discovery, advocacy, lifetime achievement, and achievements in health services research.

Previous winners of the Peter Mills Medal include Professor Alan Lopez AO from the University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health in 2014, Baker IDI’s Professor Paul Zimmet AO in 2013, and distinguished research biologist Sir Gustav Nossal AC in 2012.

Research Australia CEO and MD, Elizabeth Foley said the Awards recognise the value of Australian health research and those in the industry who work to improve the lives of Australians, deliver a world class health system, and drive economic benefits for the nation.

“The annual Research Australia Awards allow us to celebrate the relentless dedication of our best scientists and researchers, advocates, philanthropists and corporations who aim to better the health and well-being of Australians and are instrumental in making medical advancements, not just at home but around the globe,” Ms Foley said.

Research Australia is an alliance of 160 member organisations and supporters advocating for health and medical research in Australia.

Independent of government, Research Australia’s activities are funded by its members, donors and supporters including leading research organisations, academic institutions, philanthropy, community special interest groups, peak industry bodies, biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical companies, small businesses and corporate Australia.



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Angus Morgan

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