Medical researcher and director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Professor Doug Hilton, has become the first Australian recipient of the Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research.
Professor Hilton will be presented with the award today in Florence, Italy, at the 9th Joint Meeting of the International Cytokine Society and the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research.
Cytokines are chemicals that transmit messages between cells, particularly in the immune system. Interferons are a subset of cytokines that enhance immune responses to viruses and other pathogens, and can be used to treat cancers.
The Milstein Award was established in 1988 by American philanthropists Seymour and Vivian Milstein to recognise scientists who have made exceptional contributions to cytokine and interferon research. The late Mr Milstein was a New York real estate magnate who was a strong supporter of medical research and patient care organisations. The Milsteins were inspired to establish the award in 1988 by the emerging medical applications of interferons.
Professor Hilton's receipt of the award recognises his research into how cytokines signal between cells, including the discovery of many molecules involved in this process.
Professor Hilton said he was deeply honoured to receive the 2011 Milstein Award. "I have worked in the field of cytokine biology since the 1980s," Professor Hilton said. "In the past two decades we have seen many new treatments for cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune conditions evolve from laboratory discoveries about basic cytokine biology."
After completing his undergraduate studies at Monash University, Professor Hilton undertook research training with Professors Don Metcalf and Nick Nicola at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. During this period he discovered the cytokine Leukaemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF), which is now under inves
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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute