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Alan Cowman

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Professor Alan Cowman FAA FRS is Deputy Director of Science Strategy at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and Head of the Division of Infection and Immunity.

He did his undergraduate and honours degrees in science at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. He then moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne where he obtained his PhD in the laboratory of Professor David Kemp through the University of Melbourne. He was awarded a C. J. Martin Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council for postdoctoral work at the University of California – Berkeley in the laboratory of Dr Gerry Rubin studying Drosophila eye function and development. He then returned to Australia and took up a position at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and has developed a laboratory that studies malaria. Currently, he has a Senior Principal Research Fellowship from the NHMRC and held an Australia Fellowship from 2007-2012.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011 and the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2001. He has received a number of awards including the Glaxo Award for Advanced Research in Infectious Diseases, Gottschalk Medal for Medical Science and Biology from the Australian Academy of Sciences, Boehringer-Mannheim Medal, Glaxo-Wellcome Australia Medal and the Howard Taylor Ricketts Medal from the University of Chicago. He has also received the Victoria Prize from the Victorian Government as well as the Mahathir Science Prize from the Mahathir Science Award Foundation. More recently he was awarded a Research Excellence Award from the Australian National and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recognising outstanding performance and excellence in health and medical research innovation.

His work is aimed at understanding the function of proteins in Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the most severe form of malaria in humans and to use this information for the development of vaccines and drug targets against this parasitic disease.