Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a partnership between The Royal Melbourne Hospital and The University of Melbourne, received Research Australia’s prestigious Peter Wills Medal.
The Peter Wills Medal recognises an Australian who has made an outstanding contribution to building Australia’s international reputation in the area of health and medical research, and for harnessing government, research, industry and philanthropic collaborations to promote better health.
Sharon has been working in the field of HIV for over 20 years and is internationally renowned for her HIV cure research. She leads a large, multi-disciplinary research team at the Doherty Institute that focuses on understanding why HIV persists on treatment and developing clinical trials aimed at ultimately finding a cure for HIV infection.
She has published over 200 publications and has been continually funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) since 1993. She was local co-chair for the International AIDS Conference held in Melbourne in July 2014 (AIDS2014), which was the largest health conference ever hosted in Australia, and was named Melburnian of the Year in the same year.
Research Australia said Sharon was chosen as the recipient of the award for her extraordinary body of research into HIV, the international recognition she has received for her work, her contribution to the community and the leadership she has shown for women in science.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Chief Executive, Dr Gareth Goodier, congratulated Professor Lewin on the Peter Wills Medal – the first female researcher to take out the coveted prize.
“Professor Lewin’s contribution to medical research globally is outstanding,” Dr Goodier said.
“In everything she does, Sharon demonstrates an unwavering commitment to her HIV/AIDS research and to the research undertaken by the teams in the Doherty Institute,” Dr Goodier said.
“Her drive and determination in taking cutting-edge research from the Doherty Institute to the patient’s bedside, showcases that she is a very deserving winner of the Peter Wills Medal.
Professor Lewin said she was incredibly humbled by receiving the Peter Wills Medal.
“Medical research and translation is all about team work and I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to have worked with many outstanding colleagues in the HIV scientific, clinical and community sectors across Australia and internationally,” she said.
“The award of the Peter Wills Medal to me recognises this extraordinary team effort.”