Associate Professor Heidi Drummer presents the 2016 Fenner Lecture
The Deputy Head of Burnet Institute’s Centre for Biomedical Research, Associate Professor Heidi Drummer has been recognised with the Institute’s prestigious Frank Fenner Award for her landmark research into hepatitis C.
Associate Professor Drummer’s laboratory conducts studies into hepatitis C virus (HCV) with a special focus on the development of a vaccine.
To date, no vaccine exists for HCV, which is estimated to chronically infect three percent of the world’s population, causing 350 million deaths each year.
Delivering the 2016 Frank Fenner Lecture, Associate Professor Drummer said a vaccine is desperately needed to work in concert with new direct acting antiviral drugs to achieve HCV elimination.
IMAGE: L-R Laboratory Co-Head Dr Andy Poumbourios, Frank Fenner Award winner Associate Professor Heidi Drummer, and Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC
Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC said Associate Professor Drummer’s outstanding research has brought that vaccine closer to reality.
“Through the creative brilliance of Heidi and her team and collaborators … we are going to see one day the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health problem, and hopefully one day its eradication,” Professor Crabb said.
“If we do see that, we’re going to need a vaccine, and this is, in my view, by far and away the best chance of the vaccines that I know of in the world to help achieve that.”
Associate Professor Drummer said she was honoured to receive the Frank Fenner Award and paid special tribute to her dedicated laboratory staff and collaborators.
“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the donors who have supported our work, the funding agencies and the fantastic team that I’ve been able to work with over the years,” Associate Professor Drummer said.
“It’s a huge acknowledgement that hepatitis C research is desperately needed and recognition of the contribution we’ve made to the field, and hopefully will continue to make into the future.”
The Frank 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.
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