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Dennis Shanks

Army Malaria Institute, Department of Defence

Prof Dennis Shanks has been the Director of the Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute (ADF MIDI) in Brisbane for the last 13 years and is an adjunct professor at the University of Queensland, School of Public Health as well as James Cook University. He directs militarily relevant medical research on infectious diseases capable of stopping tropical operations such as malaria, dengue and influenza. For the previous 20 years Professor (then Colonel) Shanks had been a US Army medical officer who spent the majority of his military career conducting field trials of new antimalarial drugs in the tropics.  His assignments included service at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the overseas laboratories of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research at the Armed Forces Research Institute Medical Sciences in Thailand and the US Army Medical Research Unit in Kenya, as well as the Australian Army Malaria Research Unit in Ingleburn, Australia (a fore-runner of AMI). Concerned mostly with malaria prevention studies, Prof Shanks has conducted field studies in various rural populations including gold miners in New Guinea, Thai border militia on the Cambodia border, displaced persons in camps along the Thai-Burmese border, tea estate workers of the Kenyan Rift Valley and Kenyan villagers near Lake Victoria.  He performed one of the pivotal efficacy trials for atovaquone proguanil which lead to its licensure as a chemoprophylactic combination and has tested most antimalarial drugs in use today. Prof Shanks did the first field trial of tafenoquine, a new drug now under review for registration in Australia. Most recently he has been using historical data to determine the causes of malaria relapses and mortality during the 1918 influenza pandemic. He has published over 190 research papers on malaria and other infectious diseases. Prof Shanks serves as the medical monitor for several antimalarial clinical trials and is on several advisory committees. His awards include the US Army Legion of Merit and the Donald MacKay Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.