Manitoba

Manitoba AIDS scientist honoured with prestigious award

Pioneering microbiologist Dr. Frank Plummer, whose work has led to many breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS research, is receiving another high honour for his life's work.

Dr. Frank Plummer's research has lead to several breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS

The University of Manitoba's Dr. Frank Plummer is one of the world's top HIV researchers. He is being honoured with the Flavelle Medal by the Royal Society of Canada, a high honour awarded for outstanding contributions to biological science. (Canadian Press)

Pioneering Winnipeg microbiologist Dr. Frank Plummer, whose work has led to many breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS research, is receiving another high honour for his life's work. 

Plummer is being honoured with the Flavelle Medal by the Royal Society of Canada, for outstanding contributions to biological science.

"It's hugely exciting. Hugely gratifying to see all your years of work being recognized in this way," a proud Plummer told CBC Radio's Up to Speed Tuesday.

Plummer is a distinguished professor of medical microbiology at the University of Manitoba and former head of the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

He is perhaps best known for his work with a group of HIV-resistant sex workers in Kenya. He's credited with unravelling a mystery surrounding the women who possessed a natural immunity to HIV-1, the virus that leads to AIDS.

The research provided vital new information for HIV vaccine and drug development. The University of Manitoba said global interventions and campaigns have been built on his work that currently save the lives of tens of thousands of people annually.

Among his achievements in HIV/AIDS research, the work of Plummer and his research team has also helped identify the role of sexually transmitted infections in enhancing and facilitating HIV infection, understanding the role of breastfeeding in the transmission of HIV from mothers to children, and the protective effect of male circumcision for HIV acquisition in men.

"Dr. Plummer has had a tremendous and incalculable impact on global public health and the University of Manitoba is honoured to call Dr. Plummer one of our own," said Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) at the University of Manitoba, in a press release. 

"We congratulate him on this most deserved award that recognizes a lifetime of work that is incomparable to any other's."

Plummer is also an officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, and a recipient of the Prix Galien Research Award. 

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