The Turnbull Government has today congratulated Australian scientist Dr Jacques Miller for winning the prestigious Japan Prize for his lifelong and ground-breaking work in immunology research.
Dr Miller was jointly awarded the prize with American scientist Dr Max D Cooper for his discovery of the T-lymphocytes that attack virus-infected cells, paving the way for decades of developments in lifesaving immunotherapies.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham congratulated Dr Miller and Dr Cooper for their outstanding contribution to medical research over the last fifty years.
“We should all be incredibly proud of Dr Miller and Dr Cooper whose findings have helped provide ground-breaking treatments for diseases like leukaemia and lymphoma,” Minister Birmingham said.
“This was cutting-edge research done by an Australian scientist and has underpinned the development of life-saving treatments.”
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said Dr Miller and Dr Cooper were pioneers of immunology research and their work should not be underestimated.
“Their work in identifying the cellular building blocks of the immune system has helped save the lives of thousands of people and continues to be the building blocks for new discoveries and treatments,” Minister Hunt said.
Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the Japan Prize is awarded to scientists and researchers who have made a significant contribution to science, technology, society, peace and prosperity.
“Dr Miller exemplifies the important contribution Australian scientists and researchers continue to make to medical research across the globe,” Minister Cash said.
“Sometimes referred to as the ‘modern father of immunology’ Dr Miller’s talents have been well recognised in Australia and he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science in 2003 for outstanding achievements in scientific research.
“More recently, in 2015, he was awarded the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) Medal.”
Dr Miller who is an Emeritus Professor at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the University of Melbourne is only the second Australian to win the Japan Prize, with Professor Frank Fenner receiving the prize in 1988 for his work in eradicating smallpox.
Each year the Japan Prize Foundation awards the Japan Prize in two fields of science – this year’s fields are Resources, Energy, Environment and Social Infrastructure, as well as Medical Science and Medicinal Science.
The award will be conferred in April at a ceremony in Tokyo in the presence of the Emperor of Japan.