Professor Peter Doherty has named Professor Si Ming Man as the winner of the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) 2020 Peter Doherty Leading Light Award.
Professor Man’s research focus is on the role of the immune system in combatting infectious diseases, cancer and other chronic diseases.
Professor Man’s work has demonstrated killer immune proteins are capable of “finding” intracellular bacteria following their invasion into a cell and destroying bacteria by disrupting the bacterial cell membrane.
Killer immune proteins enhance immunity and protect the body against bacteria by causing the bacteria to die; and alerting other parts of the immune system to clear the bacteria.
Given the rapid rise of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria, also known as superbugs, this finding is important because it opens the way to harnessing the killing power of these proteins from our own immune system.
Professor Man aims to “reverse engineer” the immune system to produce more killer proteins.
This novel therapeutic approach could create impact by introducing new ways to kill bacteria and reduce the spread of superbugs.
Professor Graham Mann, Director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research, said that Professor Man exemplifies the future of research in Australia.
“We are proud to have Si Ming as part of our research community. Not only is his research exceptional but he is a great role model and mentor to future generations of researchers.”
In the last week alone, Professor Man has been recognised at ANU with a Vice Chancellor’s Early Career Academic Award, and internationally as a Highly Cited Researcher by the Web of Science.
Earlier this year he was awarded a CSL Centenary Fellowship for his work on harnessing the immune system to fight infectious diseases.