Tuesday 27 September 2016

Irish scientist to be awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine tonight

Published 10/12/2015 | 12:59

Professor William Campbell. Photo: Justin Mac Innes/ Trinity College Dublin/PA Wire
Professor William Campbell. Photo: Justin Mac Innes/ Trinity College Dublin/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by Trinity College Dublin of (left to right) University Chancellor, Trinity College Dublin, Dr Mary Robinson, Professor William Campbell accepting an honorary degree at Trinity College Dublin for his contribution to science and Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast as Professor William Campbel has shared this year's Nobel Prize in medicine. Photo: Justin Mac Innes/ Trinity College Dublin/PA Wire
Hans Forssberg (L), member of the Nobel Assembly, gives an interview after a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winners of the 2015 Nobel Medicine Prize on October 5, 2015 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
Hans Forssberg, member of the Nobel Assembly, addresses a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winners of the 2015 Nobel Medicine Prize on October 5, 2015 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
Hans Forssberg (R), member of the Nobel Assembly, addresses a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winners of the 2015 Nobel Medicine Prize on October 5, 2015 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images

A DONEGAL native will receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine at a ceremony in Stockholm tonight.

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William Campbell, a graduate of Trinity College, will receive the Nobel Medal from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Professor Campbell and Professor Satoshi Omura were jointly awarded the prize for their discoveries concerning a drug against infections caused by roundworm parasites.

The drug, Avermectin, the derivatives of which, have radically lowered the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. The drug has also shown efficacy against a growing range of other parasitic diseases.

Professor William Campbell, originally from Ramelton in Donegal,  graduated with first class honours in zoology from  Trinity College Dublin in 1952.

He went on to receive a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1957, following which he worked with the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research until 1990.  He is currently a research fellow Emeritus at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey.

Professor Campbell visited Trinity College Dublin recently where he was conferred with a Doctor in Science (Sc.D) in June 2012 in recognition for his scientific research and contribution to society.

 “Professor Campbell was centrally involved in developing the cure against river blindness,” says Patrick Prendergast, the Provost of Trinity College who will attend the ceremony on the college’s behalf tonight.

“In 1987 he spearheaded the decision by Merck to distribute that cure free to millions of people in what became one of the first and foremost examples of a public/private partnership in international health. Annually 25 million people are treated under this scheme preventing new cases of river blindness.”

He also gave a lecture to staff and students in zoology on the ‘The Story of Ivermectin’. 

Professor Campbell was also involved in the development of several drugs used in human and veterinary medicine.

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