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Top honour for top Queensland researcher

Professor Michael Good, Director of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) has been awarded the 2009 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science.

The Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science is awarded to an Australian individual who has demonstrated an outstanding role and impact in science and was presented to Professor Good on Tuesday night in Sydney.

“It is an honour to have been recognised with such a prestigious award and I am humbled to join the list of distinguished winners – leaders who have helped shape and inspire medical research in Australia. I would like to thank CSIRO and the Australian Museum for supporting these annual awards and congratulate the other prize winners,” said Professor Good.

Professor Good has been Director of QIMR since 2000 and in that time has led the institute to become one of Australia’s biggest and most successful. With almost 600 scientists, QIMR performs leading research into more than 40 of the worlds’ most debilitating illnesses.

Beginning his career as a medical doctor, Professor Good decided to move into medical research. He completed his doctorate at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research under the supervision of Sir Gustav Nossal and dedicated his research career to combating some of the world’s great killers.

After 25 years of dedicated research into malaria, Professor Good is now performing pre-clinical studies into the development of a whole of parasite malaria vaccine. His world leading research has also led to the development of a trial vaccine for Streptococcus A – the cause of rheumatic fever which is responsible for over 500,000 deaths every year with a high impact among Indigenous Australians.

His commitment to helping Indigenous Australians spans his career. In 1996, Professor Good became a member of the Board of the Co-operative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health. He later established the Indigenous Health Research Program at QIMR.

He has nurtured many of the next generation of scientific leaders and researchers and represented the science community at a number of influential forums such as the National 2020 Summit as well as being President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes from 2002-2004, and chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

QIMR’s successful education program is testament to his passion for medical research and commitment to inspiring the scientists of tomorrow. “I feel it is our responsibility to champion medical research as a career and offer students the chance to work alongside world-class researchers in real laboratory settings.”

According to Professor Good’s long time friend and mentor, Sir Gustav Nossal, “Michael Good has demonstrated outstanding leadership in ever so many facets of medicine and science. His own work in malaria and streptococcal infections is original and outstanding.”

“His leadership of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research has made it a veritable powerhouse of Australian medical and health research. It is hard to think of a more deserving recipient of this wonderful award.”

Professor Good’s contribution was previously acknowledged in 2008 when he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to medical research, particularly in the fields of infectious disease immunology and vaccine technology, through leadership roles at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and contributions to education.

The Eureka Awards were presented in at the Royal Hall of Industries in Sydney on18 August 2009.