Publish Date: 
Friday, November 11, 2022 - 15:45

UQ 'Frazer Institute' honours founding TRI CEO

The University of Queensland has recognised the outstanding contribution to society of medical researcher and TRI’s founding CEO Ian Frazer AC by renaming the UQ Diamantina Institute in his honour.

The newly named Frazer Institute – which includes nearly 300 researchers, students and support staff dedicated to improving the detection and management of diseases such as skin and blood cancers, arthritis and diabetes – is based at the Translational Research Institute, along with TRI’s 3 other research partners.

Ian Frazer, who is now an Emeritus Professor at The University of Queensland after stepping down from his academic appointment, has begun a transition to retirement.

Together with his former research partner, the late Dr Jian Zhou, Emeritus Professor Frazer co-invented a world-first HPV vaccine which has already protected millions of women from cervical cancer. He became TRI’s founding CEO when the multi-partner Institute opened in 2012.

UQ’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said it was a privilege to have one of the pre-eminent medical scientists of our time on staff at UQ for more than three decades.

“Ian’s contribution, and that of his late research partner Dr Zhou, have exemplified what we should all strive for in academia,” Professor Terry said.

“Their work has truly made a difference, with the very real possibility that in the future, deaths from cervical cancer will be almost unheard of.

“Both Ian’s and Dr Zhou’s families have campaigned to have the vaccine rolled out equitably around the world and they are also deeply committed to giving back to their communities.”

The announcement was made at the annual Jian Zhou Oration, held at TRI in memory of the Gardasil co-inventor. This year’s oration was delivered by Emeritus Professor Frazer.

“Our individual contribution to science might be remembered, but what really counts will be the contributions of 42 PhD students and 20 post docs we have helped along their way,” Emeritus Professor Frazer said.

“Their contributions to research over 30 years include more than 400 peer-reviewed publications, and it has been a pleasure to enable and assist them in this work.”

Emeritus Professor Frazer will continue to supervise his two final PhD candidates until 2024, and to serve on a number of advisory councils and boards.

He said he was looking forward to spending more time with family.

“I owe my wife Caroline and my sons a huge debt for all those hours that I couldn’t be around and when they were thrust into the spotlight at various times alongside me,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to the normal things, spending time with grandchildren and travelling for leisure, not work.”

TRI’s CEO, Professor Scott Bell, welcomed the announcement and congratulated Emeritus Professor Frazer on his well-earned retirement.

“The newly named Frazer Institute makes up a major part of TRI, and it’s a fitting honour that it be renamed after a man who has given decades of service to both organisations,” Professor Bell said.

“Ian Frazer is a true leader in the medical research field. I am delighted that we will have a permanent tribute here at TRI to his legacy.”

Frazer Institute Director, Professor Paul Clarke said the namesake was particularly appropriate given the Institute’s emphasis on translating research into therapies and diagnostic methods.

Emeritus Professor Frazer, who is also the Chair of the TRI Foundation Board, and his wife Caroline will continue their philanthropic work through the Frazer Family Trust.

He has received numerous accolades for his research, including the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science in 2008. He was the Australian of the Year in 2006.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said Emeritus Professor Frazer’s work was a shining example of one of Queensland’s greatest offerings to the world.

“The invention of the world’s first HPV vaccine, Gardasil, has saved the lives of millions of women, and has the potential to eradicate cervical cancer within a generation,” Mr Miles said.

In August, the Children’s Hospital Foundation and UQ launched the Ian Frazer Centre for Children’s Immunotherapy Research, led by TRI-based Professor Di Yu.