Congratulations to Professor Wai-Hong Tham, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute who was awarded the 2023 Bancroft- Mackerras Medal for Excellence.
Professor Wai-Hong Tham received her PhD from Princeton University. She is a Lab Head and co-Chair of the Biologics Initiative at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. She has made fundamental discoveries in novel host-pathogen interactions and examined their molecular and structural mechanisms to drive rational design of new therapies against malaria. Her lab studies parasite adhesins required for entry into human red cells, parasite surface proteins that bind to human complement proteins for immune evasion and novel parasite proteins involved in fertilisation. The overarching aim is to rationally design and generate new inhibitors or antibodies that block these interactions and stop recurrent malaria infection in humans and block transmission from mosquitoes. Her work intersects with the fields of structural biology, immuno-epidemiology and molecular parasitology. For her contribution to understanding malaria parasite invasion, she was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Wellcome International Scholar and has received the 2020 International Award Biochemistry Society, 2019 and 2011 Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research (team prize), the 2022 and 2018 Elizabeth Blackburn NHMRC Fellowship, the 2018 Burnet Prize and the 2017 David Syme Research Prize.