John Curtin Medical Research Foundation DinnerShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
I have a great respect for the John Curtin School of Medical Research, and always hope a modicum of its brilliance will brush off onto me as my scientific abilities are stuck in the past and my knowledge a grab bag of the times I’ve sat through lectures, presentations and awards for the alumni, and tried to converse intelligently at so many social occasions. They’re a patient bunch and as a patient recipient of much of the advances in today’s wonderful world of new medicines I am happiest when I hear of funding....lots of funding preferably, for their research.
To this end the third annual John Curtin Medical Research Foundation Dinner at the National Portrait Gallery was a platform for one of the six Nobel Laureates from ANU – the most of any Australian University - to be guest speaker and accept the accolades of his peers and maybe be a little controversial. It was a findraising opportunity too with a silent auction of an eclectix mix of goodies, a raffle and a live auction conducted by Foundation supporter Richard Luton.
Emeritus Professor Tolf Zinkernagel of Switzerland, with a big part of his heart in Canberra, was interviewed by Ken Begg – it was a conversation really – Zinkernagel was thoughtful, provocative and engaging.
What did I ask him about when an opportunity arose; immune systems gone haywire or vaccinations, because that’s his area of expertise? No, Voices in the Forest held on the previous Saturday in the National Arboretum where with Cam Webber and his wife Joanna he joined the crowd slowly chilling down as the sun set and the stars came out for a comprehensive program of magic music under those stars. And thereby hangs a tale of the young Zinkernagel joining the JCSMR and annoying the then director with his warbling of Mozart arias. Finding a new room for the warbler sent him to work fortuitously as it turns out with Peter Doherty who was not averse to a little opera himself.
The rest is history as they say, as these two men jointly received the ‘Nobel Prize in Medicine of Physiology’ for their work in the 70’s that identified a fundamental control centre of the immune system.
The John Curtin Medical Research Foundation is vital for the success and continued financing of world’s best practice research at the school and who knows when and where another discovery will be realized and another Nobel Laureate emerges.