Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) Professor Andrew Steer has been acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to the health and medical research landscape in Australia.
Professor Steer has received the Jian Zhou Medal, awarded to a rising star of Australian health and medical science, and was elected as one of 28 new Fellows into the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
The announcements were made this week during two award celebrations staged by the Academy.
The Jian Zhou Medal is named in recognition of Dr Jian Zhou, a molecular biologist and virologist who worked with Professor Ian Frazer to develop and patent the technology underpinning the HPV vaccines which protect against cervical cancer.
The medal is designed and minted by the Royal Australian Mint and will be engraved with Professor Steer’s name.
Professor Steer, MCRI Infection and Immunity Theme Director and Tropical Diseases Research Group Leader, received the medal for the incredible impact he has made in reducing the burden of infection in northern Australia and lower-middle income countries including in Africa and the Pacific. He has achieved this through three major projects:
1. Mass-drug administration to treat and prevent scabies, thereby preventing StrepA infection;
2. Establishing the StrepA vaccine alliance to accelerate the discovery and development of a StrepA vaccine;
3. Improving diagnosis and treatment in remote communities of rheumatic heart disease, a serious complication of Strep A infection, using robust and portable ultrasound machines.
Professor Steer has secured over $20 million in philanthropic and government financial support for these projects, built outstanding teams to support each, and continues his clinical commitments at The Royal Children’s Hospital.