The staff and students of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute have paid tribute to entomologist Professor Brian Kay, who died on Saturday at the age of 72.
Professor Kay worked in QIMR Berghofer’s Mosquito Control Laboratory for 51 years and retired in 2014.
He obtained a Bachelor of Science with Honours from The University of Queensland (UQ), and went on to obtain his PhD at UQ.
Professor Kay’s research focused on the surveillance and control of mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue and Ross River fevers. His research made a crucial and lasting contribution to mosquito control, both in Australia and abroad.
During his extensive and highly successful career, he published more than 270 peer-reviewed scientific papers and became one of Australia’s most pre-eminent entomologists.
He was part of the Eliminate Dengue team, which pioneered the use of the wolbachia bacteria to inhibit mosquitoes’ ability to spread dengue fever.
Professor Kay served as a consultant and advisor to governments, The United Nations, and industry. He also served as the head of the World Health Organisation’s Collaborating Centre for Environmental Management for Vector Control, and as the Director of the Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health.
He received a number of honours and awards during his extensive career. In 2005, Professor Kay was made a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2006 he was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. He also received the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Award for Excellence in Science, and the DI Ivanovsky Centenary Medallion.
QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon has expressed his condolences.
“We have been deeply saddened by Brian’s passing. He was a QIMR Berghofer stalwart and a giant of the tropical diseases research community,” Professor Gannon said.
“He dedicated most of his life to trying to eliminate insidious diseases like dengue and Ross River fever and he leaves behind a great legacy.
“While he has been lauded for his many research achievements, he will also be remembered for mentoring and developing the careers of many young researchers.
“On behalf of the staff and students of QIMR Berghofer, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Professor Kay’s family and loved ones. Our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.”