05 December 2011
Professor John Shine AO FAA, Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, has received the inaugural Peter Wills Medal, created by Research Australia “to recognise an outstanding contribution to building Australia’s national and international reputation in the realm of health and medical research”.
The award was presented at a dinner held in the Great Hall of Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria on 16 November 2011.
Peter Wills AC chaired a very influential review of health and medical research at the end of the 1990s, one of the outcomes of which was the establishment of Research Australia. Wills became its founding Chairman, and still sits on the Board.
At the time of the review, Wills was Chairman of Garvan and so worked very closely with Professor Shine. It is therefore fitting that Shine should be the inaugural recipient of the medal.
“There are two things I feel very pleased about – one is the fact that this award has been created to acknowledge the contributions made by Peter Wills himself. The second is that I am the first to receive it! I know Peter very well, and very much admire his achievements in the field,” said Professor Shine.
John Shine is world-renowned for a series of discoveries he made between 1975 and 1985 that furthered our understanding of how genes are turned into the proteins that do the work in cells. He also developed sophisticated gene cloning techniques that helped revolutionise the world of biotechnology.
Shine became Director of Garvan in 1990, when gene cloning was starting to have a big impact in medical research. Since then he has held countless influential scientific advisory roles, including Chairman of the Australian Genome Research Facility (2001-2003); Chairman of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) from 2003-2006 and Vice President (Biological Sciences) Australian Academy of Science from 2002-2007. He won the 2010 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, the nation’s most highly respected award for scientific achievement.