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Ernst Chain prize for HIV vaccines researcher

See also...
-Watch the lecture
External Sites:
-Ernst Chain biography
-The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine
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An international HIV researcher has been awarded the 2006 Ernst Chain prize for his work in developing an HIV vaccine.

Professor Andrew McMichael, Director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University was awarded the Ernst Chain prize at Imperial College London last night.

The award is made in honour of Sir Ernst Chain, who was awarded his Nobel Prize in 1945 for contributions to the discovery and development of penicillin.

Professor Andrew McMichael with the Ernst Chain medal

Speaking at the lecture, Sir Richard Sykes Opens in new window, Rector, said: "We are proud of Sir Ernst's long association with Imperial College. When I came to the College five years ago, I felt that not enough had been done enough to celebrate the achievements of Ernst Chain, and so it has been a privilege to work with Ralph Kohn, through the Kohn Foundation, to establish this prize."

Introducing Professor McMichael, Sir Richard added: "He has become a leading international scientist in his field, and has used his knowledge generously in playing a major role in training new generations of immunologists, many of whom have gone on to make important discoveries of their own."

Professor McMichael gave a lecture describing the T cell-virus interface, describing his influential contributions in the field of human immunology, particularly looking at viral infections and their interactions with T cells.

He detailed his work on CD8 T cells, a type of immune cell, with potent antiviral properties. These T cells are able to kill virus infected cells before they generate large amounts of new virus, and release cytokines which act against viruses.

Having initially begun his work on the influenza virus, Professor McMichael changed his focus to HIV-1 when this emerged, and has most recently moved back to studying influenza with the emergence of the avian flu threat.

Professor McMichael began his career as a House Physician and House Surgeon at St Mary's and Hammersmith Hospitals, and was a Senior House Officer at the Royal Brompton Hospital. He moved to the Nuffield Departments of Surgery and Clinical Medicine at Oxford in 1977, before becoming a Professorial Fellow at Trinity College in 1983.

Watch the Ernst Chain lecture 2006 in RealPlayer