Professor Mark von Itzstein, Founder and Director of Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics, says he is humbled by his inclusion in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, today named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medical research and education in the field of structural biology and glycochemistry, and as a mentor.
“This honour … belongs to a whole host of people who have made major contributions to both my career and life,” said Professor von Itzstein.
“Reflecting on the Institute for Glycomics’ establishment at Griffith University in the year 2000 with only a handful of people, to expand to a vibrant critical mass of over 220 staff gives me a great sense of pride.”
“I look forward to continuing to contribute to the University, the Gold Coast and Queensland community, through my role in the Institute for Glycomics and its scientists’ outstanding research.”
Among his achievements, Professor von Itzstein led the team that discovered the world’s first anti-influenza drug, Relenza, which saves thousands of lives each year.
“This is just one example of so many of his profound contributions to society. We’re excited to see what he will achieve next,” said Professor Carolyn Evans, Vice Chancellor of Griffith University.
Many former Griffith University alumni have also been recognised in the Honours List.
Forensic odontologist Associate Professor Alex Forrest has been awarded an AO for services to dentistry. Associate Professor Forrest spent 14 years at Griffith.
Former Griffith senior executive (Human Resources Director) Janine Walker received an AM (General Division) for significant service to education, to community health, and to the media.
Dr Steven Nisbet, formerly of The School of Education and Professional Studies, received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community through music, and to education.
Griffith Science graduate Professor Alan Cowman, currently the Deputy Director and Head of Infection and Immunity at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Victoria, has been named a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to the biological sciences, notably to molecular parasitology, to medical research and scientific education, and as a mentor.
Several Honorary Doctors of the University have also been recognised, including Queensland Supreme Court Justice Debra Mullins, who has chaired Griffith University’s Visiting Committee Advisory Board since 2005. The Honourable Justice was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the law, and to the judiciary, to professional development and legal education, and to women.
Mr Li Cunxin AO DUniv was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet, as a dancer and artistic director.