Burnet Institute’s founding Director, Professor Ian Gust AO has been awarded Research Australia’s prestigious Peter Wills Medal for 2016 in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary commitment to medical research and public health.
The Peter Wills Medal recognises an Australian who has made an outstanding contribution to building Australia’s international reputation in the area of health and medical research, and for harnessing government, research, industry and philanthropic collaborations to promote better health.
Accepting the award on behalf of Professor Gust who’s overseas, Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC described the Peter Wills Medal as the ultimate acknowledgement of an Australian’s profound career contribution to health and medical research.
“It is absolutely wonderful that our founding director, Professor Ian Gust, who made such an enormous contribution through the work of the institute he created and on so many other fronts in Australia, has been awarded the 2016 Peter Wills Medal,” Professor Crabb told the 2016 Research Australia Awards Dinner in Sydney.
“Hopefully the institute that he created does his legacy proud.”
As Burnet’s inaugural director, Professor Gust led the development and introduction of screening tests for hepatitis B, and was a key advisor in Australia’s response to the HIV epidemic in the mid-1980s.
He played important roles in developing diagnostic assays, establishing the National HIV Reference Laboratory, and directing the National Health and Medical Research Council’s special unit for AIDS virology.
Professor Gust later spent a decade as Head of Research and Development at CSL, and served as a member of World Health Organization expert committees on viral hepatitis, biological standardisation and virus diseases.
He has been a Director of the National Hepatitis Reference Centre and served as the Commonwealth Chief Medical and Scientific Adviser on AIDS.
More recently he has been director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Influenza and a member of the National Influenza Pandemic Planning Committee.
In 1992, Professor Gust was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to public health, particularly in the prevention of hepatitis and AIDS.
Past winners of the Peter Wills Medal include Burnet board member and Director of The Doherty Institute, Professor Sharon Lewin in 2015, Baker IDI’s Professor Paul Zimmet AO in 2013, and distinguished research biologist Sir Gustav Nossal AC in 2012.
Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin said the Research Australia 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.
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.