The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences is delighted to launch the Jian Zhou Medal, which will be awarded to a rising star of Australian health and medical science. The award is named in honour of late Dr. Jian Zhou, a talented molecular biologist and virologist, who worked with Professor Ian Frazer AC to develop and patent the technology underpinning the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines, which protect women worldwide against viruses that cause cervical cancer. 

The Medal will recognise an individual who is making a significant impact in translational medical science, primarily working in Australia. The recipient will be a postdoctoral researcher within 15 years of achieving their PhD (or equivalent first research higher degree) and nominations are welcome from all fields associated with furthering biomedical and health research, whether clinical or basic biomedical research, but must have a clear translational focus.

 

‘Jian was the ideal clinician scientist – innovative in his laboratory research, though always with the practical application of his work in mind, a great collaborator, and an enthusiastic mentor and  sharer of his knowledge with all who were interested.’

Professor Ian Frazer AC FRS FAA FTSE FAHMS
Inaugural President, Australian Academy of Health and
Medical Sciences and co-inventor of the HPV vaccine

Born in Hangzhou, China, Dr Zhou graduated in medicine from Wengzhou Medical College and went onto obtaining a Master’s degree in Medical Pathology from Zhejiang Medical University. He completed a PhD at Henan Medical University in 1987, and later received a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Queensland in 1994.

Dr Zhou’s interest in the human papillomavirus (HPV) brought him to Australia in 1990, to join Professor Ian Frazer’s Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research at the University of Queensland. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV infection and it was therefore believed that a vaccine against HPV might protect against these cancers. The vaccine required a particle that would stimulate an immune response to the virus without causing an infection, and in 1991, with the help of his wife, Xiao Yi Sun, and Professor Frazer, Dr Zhou successfully created a virus-like particle that is now the basis for the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines.

Tragically, in 1999 Dr Zhou died, at the young age of just 42. His work has nevertheless had an immense impact on human health globally.

The Academy is therefore delighted to establish an award for an early- or mid-career researcher, in recognition of Dr Zhou who himself made such a significant contribution at such a young age.

For more information on this award and how to nominate a recipient, please visit our Jian Zhou Medal page.

The Jian Zhou Medal has been made possible by a generous donation from the Frazer Family Foundation, for which the Academy is most grateful. The Medal is designed by the Royal Australian Mint and includes an illustration of the virus-like particle Dr Zhou created.