Professor William C. Campbell, a former Trinity student from Co. Donegal, has been jointly awarded half the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with his colleague, Professor Satoshi Omura.
The announcement came this morning from the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
The other half of the prize went to Chinese scientist Youyou Tu for her findings concerning a new therapy against malaria.
Professor Campbell and Professor Omura were awarded the prize for their work in the creation of Avermectin, a drug that combats infections caused by roundworm parasites, such as river blindness and malaria. The drug also has the ability to treat a growing number of other parasitic diseases.
Professor Campbell, who was born in 1930, received a first class honours degree in zoology from Trinity in 1952. He went on to receive a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1957, following which he worked with the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research. In 2012 he was awarded an honourary doctorate in science from Trinity. He is currently a research fellow emeritus at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.
In a statement from the college, Celia Holland, professor in zoology at Trinity, said: “All of us in zoology are immensely proud of Professor Campbell for winning the Nobel Prize” and that his development of Avermectin “has had a massive impact on the world, saving millions from diseases caused by parasites.”
She said: “As a zoologist, Bill was certainly ahead of his time” and explained that his research shows “the impact that zoologists can have upon the world by understanding how animals, parasites and microbes interact and by using that knowledge to develop new ways to tackle human and animal diseases.”
Watch the announcement of the prize below.
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 5, 2015