Tribute to Professor Allan Cripps AO FAHMS

Professor Allan Cripps AO FAHMS was an internationally recognised expert in the field of mucosal immunology and a senior leader in university administration and service delivery.

We are saddened to share news of his passing in late December 2022.

From humble beginnings, growing up on a remote farm and schooled largely by correspondence, Professor Cripps rose to great heights in his career, firstly in his specialty area of mucosal immunology – particularly focusing on childhood respiratory infections – and later as a senior university and health service administrator.

Professor Cripps was a world leader in his field, respected internationally for his intellectual drive and passion for mucosal immunology over a career that spanned more than 40 years.

In 2003, he was appointed as the inaugural Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) at the Griffith University on the Gold Coast, and during his tenure, grew the Health group to become the largest in the University.

Professor Cripps helped establish the School of Medicine and led Griffith’s Mucosal Immunology Research Group that continued his ground-breaking research on mucosal immunity, vaccine development and diagnostic technology. His research career was prolific, publishing more than 400 papers while mentoring 27 doctoral candidates.

His colleagues at Griffith remember him as not only a pioneer of the University’s Health group but also a fearless advocate for improving access to education for disadvantaged students. In a recent tribute, colleagues described him as a man of great compassion, kindness and warmth of spirit, who was an inspiration to all around him.

Elected to the Academy in 2016, Professor Cripps was also a Fellow of the Australian Society for Immunology and chaired its Special Interest Group for Mucosal Immunology for 15 years. Additionally, he was a Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology, the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists, the Institute of Biomedical Scientists (UK) and the Australasian College of Health and Service Management.

In 2015, he was awarded the Order of Australia for distinguished service to tertiary education and to public health.

He remained active in scientific research upon his retirement from Griffith University, holding several patents and serving as director and chair on a number of health, government and industry boards.

His loss is felt by the wider medical community. Our thoughts are with Professor Cripps’ wife Diana, his family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.

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