Sir Arnold Theiler Memorial Lecture delivered during Faculty Day, University of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Science on August 27, 2009, Onderstepoort, South Africa.
Beginning with the Swiss-born Arnold Theiler, many veterinarians have made major contributions to the understanding of infection and immunity. Sir Arnold Theiler first came to prominence when he produced a smallpox vaccine to protect mine workers, the went on to found the great South African tradition in veterinary infectious disease research. His son Max was awarded the 1951 Nobel Prize for developing the yellow fever vaccine that is still used today. That back and forth between veterinary and human medicine has, of course, been a long tradition, particulary when it comes to pathogens. My personal scientific journey began at age 17 when I started at the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science and at least in the public sense, peaked almost 40 years later when the Nobel Foundation recognized my Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel and I for discovering the basis of cell-mediated immunity. At least in those distant days when I was an undergraduate, veterinarians weren't too interested in genetics and degenerative conditions, but were well trained to deal with infections. My interest in viral pathogenesis and immunity began as an undergraduate and remains fundamental to what I do in science today. I'll relate some of that personal journey from student, to veterinary scientist, to experimental pathologist, to research immunologist to being a public advocate for rational enquiry and cultural values that emphasize an evidence-based view of the world. Now as then, we may begin our professional lives with one focus, but may end up somewhere very different. A training in veterinary Science gives a respect for reality, a knowledge that the world can never be a totally safe place, a set of practical skills, a sold scientific grounding and an understanding of ecological balance and sustainable production systems. That can be a pretty good place to startas we seek to do our part in dealing with the all too real problems that face humanity through this coming century. Apart from anything else, the challenge of feeding people will be very much to the fore. The future belongs to the young. My bet is that those who start out as veterinarians will continue to play a substantial part, and in a great diversity of roles.
The presentation, abstract of the presentation and curriculum vitae of Prof. Peter C. Doherty.
Created with MSPowerPoint 2003, 39.3MB (August 26, 2009) and migrated to PDF, 6.69MB on August 31, 2009 with Acrobat Distiller 9.0.0 (Windows.