Curtin Medal for Nobel Laureate

The Curtin Medal for Excellence in Medical Research for 2013 has been awarded to Swiss Nobel Laureate, Emeritus Professor Rolf Zinkernagel, for a lifetime achievement in immunology.

Professor Zinkernagel, who spent 34 years at the University of Zurich, was a Visiting Fellow at The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) during the early 1970s, where his research with Professor Peter Doherty won the pair a Nobel Prize in 1996.

Professor Zinkernagel said he was honoured to be recognised by the ANU.

"In general the university where you have worked during your graduate or post graduate usually do not tend to recognise their scholars or pupils," he said.

"So it is a particularly nice occasion."

JCSMR Director, Professor Chris Parish, said Professor Zinkernagel had made a major contribution to immunology.

"It is appropriate that he has been awarded the Curtin Medal, particularly, seeing he carried out his Nobel Prize winning work her at the John Curtin School of Medical Research," Professor Parish said.

"One of the interesting things about Rolf is that he was able to do his Nobel Prize winning work while he was a PhD student which is quite remarkable. It just highlights that Nobel Prizes are based on the excellence of science. It doesn't matter how old you are or what stage of career you are at."

The Curtin Medal for Excellence in Medical Research is awarded annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to medical science with an Australian affiliation or application.

The first Curtin Medal was awarded in 2003 to Professor Doherty, who shared the Nobel Prize with Professor Zinkernagel for their discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defence.

Following the medal presentation, Professor Zinkernagel gave a public lecture on Why do we not have a vaccine against HIV or TB.