University confers honorary doctorate to Nobel Prize winner

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
L-R: Melbourne Laureate Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute; Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi; Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty at last night’s ceremony. Photo: Drew Echberg.

The University of Melbourne has conferred an honorary doctorate on Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi.

Professor Barré-Sinoussi won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for her role in discovering HIV. She has since been widely recognised for her lifetime contributions to HIV and AIDS research, having received more than 40 national or international awards in a long and distinguished career.

Professor Barré-Sinoussi was President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) between 2012 and 2014 and she remains a member or chair of a number of international scientific advisory panels and boards.

Since 2009, Professor Barré-Sinoussi has been a member of the National Academy of Science in France and she was recently elevated to the rank of Grand Officier de la Legion d’Honneur. Today, Professor Barré-Sinoussi is an Emeritus Professor at the Institut Pasteur, Paris.

Professor Barré-Sinoussi is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital. She is currently in Melbourne to attend an advisory board meeting.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell congratulated Professor Barré-Sinoussi on receiving the University of Melbourne’s highest honour.

“Honorary doctorates are conferred on people whose work has transformed our understanding of the world and the lives of many people,” Professor Maskell said. “Professor Francoise Barré-Sinoussi is one such extraordinary person. As a University that is passionately engaged in health and medical research, we recognise the worldwide contribution that Professor Barré-Sinoussi has made and continues to make to virology and medicine.”

Melbourne Laureate Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute offered her congratulations.

‘Professor Barré-Sinoussi is one of the most respected global leaders in HIV virology and other infectious diseases,” Professor Lewin said. “Her work has saved millions of lives and she remains an inspiration to every woman scientist. I am just delighted she is a member of the University of Melbourne community.’’