Tribute to Professor Don McManus FAHMS

Professor Donald McManus FAHMS was an esteemed parasitologist who dedicated his life to the prevention, treatment and global elimination of neglected tropical diseases caused by parasitic worms, which affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

It is with great sadness that we share news of his passing; a loss that will be felt across the health and medical sciences community, and beyond.

Professor McManus was elected to the Academy in 2015. He was Senior Scientist and Head of Molecular Parasitology at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow who has held professorial positions at the University of Queensland and Griffith University.

He published more than 600 articles during his career, with a number of these studies helping shape international policy and practice, leading to improved treatment and disease control in China and other parts of Asia and Africa.

Internationally renowned, Professor McManus received many prestigious accolades during his nearly 50-year career. In 2020, he was awarded an Honorary Membership of the British Society of Parasitology in recognition of his impact in the field of parasitology. In the same year, he won the 2020 NHMRC Peter Doherty Investigator Grant Award (Leadership). In 2018, he won the prestigious Sornchai Looareesuwan Medal for his outstanding achievements and excellence in experimental and clinical tropical medicine research, and in 2014 was the recipient of the Ralph Doherty QIMR Berghofer Prize.

In addition to his AAHMS Fellowship, he was an elected Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the American Society of Parasitologists, the UK Royal Society of Biology and the British Society of Parasitology. Earlier this year, he was named 2022 Fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology.

Aside from his impressive professional contributions, Professor McManus also made an impact as a mentor, colleague and friend. He mentored some 40 PhD students, over 40 post-doctoral fellows and numerous Masters and Honours students from Australia and internationally, with many former students now holding senior positions in academia or industry.

Colleague and AAHMS Queensland State Branch Chair, Professor David Whiteman, paid tribute to Professor McManus’s legacy and his contributions at QIMR Bergohofer.

“Aside from his scientific eminence, I always found Don to be an affable, knowledgeable and supportive mentor who was extremely generous with his time. I know he helped many, many junior colleagues throughout his long and distinguished career,” he said.

QIMR Berghofer Director and CEO Professor Fabienne Mackay remembered Professor McManus as a generous and kind man who mentored many over his career.

“QIMR Berghofer has lost a great researcher, a selfless and caring mentor, a great friend to many and a kind gentleman,” she said.

Our thoughts are with Professor McManus’s friends, family and colleagues at this difficult time. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Hawys, and family.

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