Professor Mark von Itzstein is considered a world-leading scientist in anti-viral drug discovery and the elucidation of how viruses utilise host cell surface carbohydrates to initiate and propagate infection. He has made seminal contributions in influenza virus, rotavirus and parainfluenza virus chemical biology. His contributions led to the discovery of the world’s first ‘designer’ anti-influenza drug, Relenza. This drug is considered one of the key first-line-of-defence drugs in the treatment or prevention of influenza infection and has been stockpiled by most governments in preparation for a human influenza pandemic. His significant contributions are driving antiviral drug development.