Celebrating Discovery 2018

Celebrating Discovery 2018

Illuminate newsletter index page, December 2018
December 2018


(L-R) Board President Mr Christopher Thomas, Associate
Professor Wai-Hong Tham and Institute Director
Professor Doug Hilton.

Our incredible supporters, staff, students and members of the board came together in November to applaud the Institute’s scientific achievements of 2018 at our annual Celebrating Discovery event.

The Institute’s top accolade, the Burnet Prize, was presented to Associate Professor Wai-Hong Tham for breakthrough research that has brought the world closer to an effective new vaccine for malaria.

Associate Professor Tham’s most recent studies were published in the high impact journals Nature and Science. The studies revealed for the first time an atomic-scale blueprint of how the most widespread malaria parasite, Plamodium vivax, invades human red blood cells.

“This exciting research is critical for developing potential new antimalarial drugs and vaccines,” Associate Professor Tham said.

Molecular era of malaria research

Associate Professor Tham said it was an honour to follow in the footsteps of previous Burnet Prize winners Institute deputy director Professor Alan Cowman (in 1990) and Burnet Institute director Professor Brendan Crabb (in 2001), who had ushered in the modern molecular era of malaria research.

“It has been an incredible ride of scientific discovery over the last few years. Advanced structural imaging techniques have allowed us to view the invasion machinery of the malaria parasite in unprecedented detail,” Associate Professor Tham said.

“I want to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of my amazing team at the Institute, our international colleagues and our malaria endemic collaborators as we continue to work together and apply cutting-edge technologies to solving the riddles of malaria biology,” she said.