Australia has produced many accomplished scientific researchers over a number of generations.
The nation prides itself on about a dozen Nobel award winners. Of these, eight are specialists in the fields of physiology and medicine. These include Howard Florey for his influence in the generation and advancement of penicillin and Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet for immunology studies.
On the other hand, in the last 70 years, 5 Australian scientists and clinicians have been esteemed with respected Lasker prized, given every year by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation based in New York.
The Melbourne-based Emeritus Professor Jacques Miller is the latest receiver of the award. He is based at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Professor Jacques Miller also shares the 2019 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research along with Emory University’s Professor Max D. Cooper. The two scientists, individually but complementarily, carried out the study which led to the identification of 2 distinct types of lymphocytes, B and T blood cells, and aided in the explanation of the adaptive immune system’s organizing principle.
Miller did most of his work in London in a converted horse stable at the beginning of the 1960s. He was prepping for his doctorate during that time.
Following the dismissal, by numerous scientists such as Macfarlane Burnet, of his conclusions and deductions, he moved his work station to Washington’s cleaner labs. In 1966 he made his way back to Melbourne to continue working on his theories.
When it comes to medicine and physiology, Melbourne has a fine set of experts.
Apart from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, there is also the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Royal Women’s and Royal Children’s hospitals, and many others. Adjacent to The Alfred hospital, there is the Burnet Institute.
If talking about the Lasker prizes only, the four out of five Australian recipients, were based in Melbourne.