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Laureate Professor Peter Doherty

Nobel Laureate in Medicine; Patron of the Doherty Institute

Peter Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize with colleague Rolf Zinkernagel, for their discoveries about transplantation and “killer” T cell-mediated immunity, an understanding that is now translating into new cancer treatments. The first veterinarian to win a Nobel, Peter was Australian of the Year in 1997. Still active in research on immunity to influenza, he commutes between St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, and the Peter Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne. Apart from his scientific output, which can be found on PubMed, he is the author of several “lay” books, including A Light History of Hot Air; The Beginners Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize; Sentinel Chickens: What Birds Tell us About our Health and our World; and Pandemics: What Everyone Needs to Know. Passionate about promoting an evidence-based view of reality, his most recent book The Knowledge Wars is a “warts-and-all” view of science for non-scientists, even those who don’t like science. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Peter and Rolf also shared the Paul Ehrlich Prize (Germany), the Gairdner International Award (Canada), and the Lasker Award for Basic Science (USA). Peter’s research has been supported by the National Institute of Health in the US, the National Health and Medical Research Council, St Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Australian National University. Peter is a Fellow, or Foreign Associate, of the Australian, UK, US, and Russian Academies of Science, and the French, US, UK and Australian Academies of Medicine. He is also a Fellow of numerous professional societies, has been awarded more than 20 Honorary Doctorates and has published some 500 research papers and reviews. He received a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1997, is listed as a living National Treasure, had his face on a postage stamp, and has research fellowships, a street and two buildings (in Edinburgh and Melbourne) named after him. Peter has joined the Advisory Committee because of a personal interest in the impact of microplastics on human health.