The 2013 Mahathir Science Award has been awarded to Professor Alan Cowman of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia, announced by Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, Chairman of Mahathir Science Award Foundation today.
Awarded annually, Mahathir Science Award aims to encourage excellence in tropical science research that will accord direct benefits to countries in the tropics, and the global community.
Professor Cowman receives the award in recognition of his groundbreaking research on malaria that has led to effective understanding of the pathogenesis of the infection and innovative technological development of reverse genetics of Plasmodium falciparum and described the first gene knock out for this organism. His research has paved way further towards finding a candidate vaccine for malaria infection that continues killing millions of people in Africa and Asia. Although effective treatment of malaria infections has been available for many decades, the rapid development of drug resistance has made these anti-malarial drugs ineffective.
Professor Cowman’s research contributed further to the body of knowledge on the host parasite interaction that led to the identification of better targets for the development of new drugs against the infection.
Managed and organized by Mahathir Science Award Foundation (MSAF), the award is bestowed to any scientists or institutions worldwide to recognize achievements and innovations towards solving the problems in the tropics through science and technology. This year, MSAF received 29 nominations from 11 countries around the world and a stringent selection process was carried out by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM), including evaluations made by International Advisory Panel comprising Nobel Laureates and world renowned scientists.
Past recipients of the award include Professor John S. Mackenzie (2005, Tropical Medicine), Faculty of Medicine University of Malaya (2006, Tropical Medicine), Professor Joseph Sriyal Malik Peiris (2007, Tropical Medicine), Professor Dr Gurdev Singh Khush (2008, Tropical Agriculture), Forest Research Institute Malaysia (2009, Tropical Natural Resources), Professor Yuan Long Ping (2011, Tropical Agriculture) and Professor James M. Kelly (2012, Tropical Architecture and Engineering).