Stellar scientists join the Australian Academy of Science

Posted: 30 May 2023

Professor Sharon Lewin AO and Professor Andrew Wilks have been elected as 2023 Fellows of The Australian Academy of Science. They join 18 other researchers and scientists this year, nominated by peers for their outstanding contributions to science.

Congratulations on this significant achievement.

2023 BioMelbourne Network Distinguished Leadership Awardee, Professor Sharon Lewin AO is Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Director of the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics and University of Melbourne Laureate Professor.

Sharon is an internationally renowned leader in infectious diseases, specifically in the field of HIV, who applied her deep expertise in virology and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic when she led Doherty Institute’s response and appeared almost daily in the media.

Sharon, who is also President of the International AIDS Society, was instrumental in securing $400 million for the new Australian Institute for Infectious Disease, a major investment in Victoria’s biomedical future.

Her vision and leadership were critical to the decision by Canadian philanthropist Geoff Cumming to donate $250 million over 20 years to the Doherty Institute to establish the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics. The Centre will invest in new technologies to develop novel therapeutics for pandemics and provide long-term research support to the next generation of scientists.

Professor Andrew Wilks is a serial entrepreneur, with twenty-five years’ commercial experience, following a successful academic career at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. At the Ludwig, Andrew discovered and named many novel protein kinases, including the JAK family of kinases, and went on to found Cytopia in 1997, one of Australia’s earliest listed drug discovery companies, and the company that delivered Momelotinib, which will be approved by the FDA in mid-June this year.

Andrew has founded or co-founded multiple Australian biotech companies, including co-founding SYNthesis med chem, a global contract chemistry group with laboratories in China (acquired by Viva Biotech in 2020), and The Pharm, a venture-discovery company that funds and manages drug discovery collaborations generated from academia. He is Co-Founder and Managing Director of SYNthesis BioVentures, a venture fund that invests in early-stage Australian life science companies.

Andrew holds Honorary/Adjunct Professorial positions at University of Melbourne and Monash University, and is an elected Fellow of ATSE (2007), AAHMS (2020) and the AAS (2023).  He has been awarded various prizes and awards, including, the Australian BioBusiness Award (2007), AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Leadership Award (2016) and the ATSE Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2017).





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