Dr Joseph Doyle is 2017 Gust-McKenzie Medallist

Angus Morgan

17 May, 2017

2017 Gust-McKenzie Medalist Dr Joseph Doyle is congratulated by Professor Ian Gust AO

Dr Joseph Doyle, Burnet Institute’s Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination and Co-head, Viral Hepatitis Research, has been awarded the 2017 Gust-McKenzie Medal for his outstanding research in the epidemiology, management and prevention of blood borne viruses (HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B).

Named in honour of the founding directors of the Burnet and Austin Research Institutes, Professor Ian Gust AO and Emeritus Professor Ian McKenzie AM, the award is presented annually to an outstanding mid-career Burnet staff member in recognition of excellence in research and/or public health.

In his acceptance address at Burnet’s 28th Annual General Meeting, Dr Doyle said the availability of new highly effective medications had the potential to transform the health prospects of the 200,000 Australians infected with hepatitis C, the majority of whom acquired the virus through injecting drug use.

“We’ve certainly made really big inroads in the first 12 months where about 40,000 people were treated for hep C last year in Australia, and that’s a huge increase, 10-times higher than previous,” Dr Doyle said.

“So we’re clearly going to have a few years of people who are connected enough to know about the curative treatments and to hear the messages.

“But things will get a bit trickier where we have to reach those harder to find populations to get the message out, and also to make sure that those people who are most at risk and still transmitting get tested and get treatment.

“We’re going to have to keep testing people who are at risk and keep offering them re-treatment.”

Dr Doyle believes Australia has all the necessary tools to meet the challenge of eliminating hepatitis C, with one exception – the absence of an effective vaccine.

“That’s going to be critical because it would help prevent reinfection and help prevent transmission to other people and almost certainly be more cost effective, and prevention is always better than cure,” he said.

With a background in clinical medicine, Dr Doyle specialised in infectious diseases at The Alfred hospital where he works as a consultant physician.

He completed his MPH at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and his public health fellowship was undertaken at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory and Burnet Institute.

His PhD at Burnet and Monash School of Population Health was focused on the effectiveness of early hepatitis C treatment.

Dr Doyle is currently undertaking his NHMRC Postdoctoral Fellowship aiming to improve population health and treatment for hepatitis C infection at Burnet and the Department of Infectious Diseases at Monash University.

He is the clinical director of Burnet’s hepatitis C TAP (Treatment and Prevention) study.

“I remember when I started my PhD in 2011 and I first heard about the Gust-McKenzie award and listened to some very impressive speeches by Paul Gilson, and then Mark Stoové, so it’s flattering to be in their company,” Dr Doyle said.

Click here to find out more about Burnet’s work to eliminate viral hepatitis.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Associate Professor Joseph (Joe) Doyle

Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination; Co-Head, Viral Hepatitis Elimination; NHMRC Clinical Research Fellow




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