Publish Date: 
Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 11:30

Jian Zhou medal awarded to Prof Di Yu

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences’ has awarded the 2021 Jian Zhou Medal to TRI-based Professor Di Yu.

The Medal is awarded annually to a rising star of Australian health and medical science – an individual who is making a significant impact in translational medical science, primarily working in Australia.

Professor Yu, an immunologist with The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, was awarded the medal in recognition of his landmark discoveries in revealing the differentiation and functions of T cells in human health and disease.

His research has enabled new diagnosis and therapy for autoimmune, allergic and infectious diseases, and the improvement for vaccine efficacy.

“I have been always passionate about the beautiful sophistication of life sciences,” he said.

“I was the first place in the provincial biology contest during my high school and then represented my province to compete at the national level. 

“I chose life sciences as my major in at university, and became specialised in immunology for my PhD, since I envision the power of immunology can improve patients with devastating diseases.

“Being selected for the Jian Zhou Medal by AAHMS is a tremendous recognition of my pursuit of passion for 30 years and my research team’s dedication to immunological research for 20 years.”

Dr Jian Zhou was a molecular biologist and virologist who worked with the inaugural TRI CEO, Professor Ian Frazer, to develop and patent the technology underpinning the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines, which protect against viruses that cause cervical cancer.

“Dr Zhou was a great collaborator, clinician-scientist, and friend, whose work had a huge impact on health globally,” Professor Frazer said.

“Sadly, he died in 1999 at just 42 years old. This award honours other early- or mid-career researchers whose work is also contributing to global health.”

The Jian Zhou Medal was launched in 2020, and made possible by a generous donation from the Frazer Family Foundation. The medal is designed by the Royal Australian Mint and includes an illustration of the virus-like particle Dr Zhou created.