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Frank Plummer, AIDS researcher

Francis Plummer receives the 2013 Prix Galien Canada Research Award

U OF M trailblazer in STD field receives “Nobel” of pharmaceutical research

Prix Galien Research Award presented to researcher with most significant contribution to pharmaceutical research in Canada

November 20, 2013 — 

Distinguished Professor Francis Plummer is the recipient of the 2013 Prix Galien Canada Research Award for his world-renowned research contribution to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Plummer, also the Chief Scientific Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada, will be presented with the honour at a ceremony today in Montreal.

“There are very few who parallel Dr. Plummer’s impact as a global trailblazer, innovator and leader in research and combatting the spread HIV/AIDS,” says Brian Postl, Dean of Medicine, University of Medicine. “We congratulate him on this fitting and deserved honour.”

The Prix Galien is the most prestigious award in the field of Canadian pharmaceutical research and innovation. Referred to as the “Nobel Prize of pharmaceutical research”, it recognizes the efforts and achievements of pharmaceutical research and development.

“The research led by Dr. Plummer has benefitted the lives of millions around the globe afflicted with HIV/AIDS and reduced transmission to many more through prevention programs,” says Digvir Jayas, Vice-President (Research and International) at the University of Manitoba. “I congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition.”

Plummer, a 1976 MD alumnus, is the leader of the renowned Kenya AIDS Control Program, established by the Universities of Manitoba and Nairobi in 1980. The science emerging from this research has reduced the incidence of STDs, including AIDS, on a global scale.

He continues to lead the program into new areas of infectious disease research and prevention from his position as the head of the National Microbiology Laboratory with the Government of Canada.

The science resulting from Plummer’s research team was used by the Kenya AIDS Control Program to achieve remarkable clinical results, including a 25 per cent reduction in STDs (including HIV) and an even greater reduction in regions where the knowledge and clinical models have been applied. This includes Cambodia, Thailand, West Africa, and southern India, significantly slowing the spread of HIV globally.

Plummer’s initial studies on HIV epidemiology in Kenya were central to global understanding of the risk factors for transmission and preventive measures for HIV.

Plummer has published over 360 peer reviewed articles. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of Manitoba, the Scopus Award from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the I.S. Ravdin Basic Science Award from the American College of Surgeons, “Researcher of the Year” from Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the McLaughlin Medal recipient from the Royal Society of Canada, two honorary doctorates, and other national and international awards and honours.

Plummer, Canada Research Chair in Resistance and Susceptibility to Infections, leads the Global Health Security Action Group Laboratory Network (G7 and Mexico) and is a member of the Board of the African AIDS Vaccine Partnership based in Entebbe and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Postdoctoral Program Advisory Board.

Dr. Plummer speaking about natural immunity to HIV

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