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19 Nov 2015

Professor Sharon Lewin wins Research Australia’s Peter Wills Medal

Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) and Professor of Medicine at The University of Melbourne, was the recipient of Research Australia’s prestigious Peter Wills Medal at last night’s awards presentation held at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne.

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.

University of Melbourne Professor Mary Wlodek, Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, led Sharon’s nomination for the award and said, “Professor Lewin’s role as a leader in research, science and advocacy is evident in her very significant contribution, and we are very proud of this acknowledgement of our colleague”.

Professor Brendan Crabb AC, Director of the Burnet Institute – where Sharon held the position of Co-head of the Centre for Biomedical Research between 2010 and 2014 – and a close collaborator for over 12 years, provided the second nomination and said, “This award is amongst the most prestigious prizes that this country can give to someone who has made a contribution to health and medical research.

“Sharon is a most worthy recipient as an outstanding contributor on the global stage to improving the health of all people, especially the millions living with HIV.”

Sharon said she was incredibly humbled by receiving the Peter Wills Medal and thanked her collaborators at The Alfred and internationally, and her colleagues at the University of Melbourne and the Burnet Institute.


“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.”