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Tall Poppy for Dr Alberto Pinzón-Charry

Dr Alberto Pinzón-Charry, from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research has won a 2009 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award for excellence in research and public engagement.

Dr Pinzón-Charry’s research involves the use of whole malaria parasites to hopefully create a cheaper, more effective vaccine for malaria.

Malaria is one of the leading causes of death and disease worldwide, killing almost four million people each year. Previous attempts at an effective vaccine have failed possibly because they have targeted a few components of a complex parasite expressing thousands of proteins.

Under the supervision of Professor Michael Good, Dr Pinzón-Charry’s research has proved that using a small number of whole killed parasites produces a very effective response in animal models leading to reduced illness and death.

Dr Pinzón-Charry is also passionate about educating the wider community having given various public presentations, facilitated student work experience projects, and appeared on both radio and television explaining his research.

“Winning this award is a great honour. It is great to be recognised for the work that I enjoy doing,” said Dr Pinzón-Charry. “I have received much support during the years and thus, I would like to give back and contribute to the wider community.”

“The Young Tall Poppy Science Awards recognise early career researchers who have achieved significant scientific milestones and a commitment to community engagement,” says Australian Institute of Policy and Science Executive Director, Elektra Spathopoulos.

“The winners represent the brightest researchers investigating the important issues that benefit all Australians and the world such as improved health treatments and finding solutions to today’s human, social and environmental problems,” she adds.

The 2009 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards was presented by Queensland Chief Scientist, Professor Peter Andrews AO at a ceremony on Monday 16 November at Customs House, Brisbane.