QIMR Berghofer Senior Scientist, Professor Don McManus, has been awarded the prestigious Sornchai Looareesuwan Medal 2018 for his distinguished achievements in tropical medicine research.
The Medal, which is awarded by the Sornchai Looareesuwan Medal committee, recognises a scientist whose work represents a significant innovation or breakthrough in malaria research or, in Professor McManus’s case, research into parasitic worm infections.
The Committee said Professor McManus was chosen to receive the award for his work – particularly on the parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum – which may help advance future drug and vaccine development.
It said Professor McManus was an outstanding nominee and was chosen ahead of nine others from seven international institutions.
Professor McManus has devoted his life’s work to the prevention and treatment of neglected tropical diseases, with his research focusing on parasitic diseases schistosomiasis, echinococcosis and soil transmitted helminthiases.
He is part of a team that has designed and implemented a highly successful public health campaign to reduce parasitic worm infections in rural China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Professor McManus, who runs the Molecular Parasitology Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer, said he was greatly honoured to win the medal.
“It’s gratifying to be recognised for our work tackling major parasitic diseases that cause wide-spread suffering and economic loss in the world,” Professor McManus said.
“My scientific aim is to develop new public health programs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests to eliminate these diseases altogether.”
Professor McManus has published more than 600 articles in his nearly 50 year career, with over 200 papers on the impact on population health of schistosomiasis and echinococcosis, with a number of those studies helping shape policy and practice and leading to improved treatment and disease control in China and other parts of Asia and Africa.
For many years, Professor McManus headed QIMR Berghofer’s Tropical Health Program after he moved to Australia from the United Kingdom in 1989.