Professor Sir Alimuddin Zumla receives international infectious diseases award
19 August 2020
Professor Sir Alimuddin (Ali) Zumla has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Mahathir Science Award, in recognition of his pioneering and groundbreaking work in the field of infectious diseases.
Sir Ali’s research, capacity development and advocacy work over 30 years has led to breakthroughs in tuberculosis, TB/HIV co-infections and infectious diseases with epidemic potential, as well improvements in the health of disadvantaged populations.
Sir Ali, a Professor of Infectious Diseases and International Health at UCL, has conceived, set up and driven forward numerous global initiatives across continents including a ONE-HUMAN-ANIMAL-HEALTH network.
As part of the Mahathir Science Award, Sir Ali will also receive $100,000, a gold medal, and certificate at a ceremony to be held in Malaysia early 2021.
Commenting on his award, Sir Ali said: “I feel extremely honoured and truly humbled to have been recognised by such an illustrious selection committee as the recipient of the prestigious 2020 Mahathir Science Award.
“I strongly believe that as scientists, we need to be intimately involved in research, aligned with training, capacity development and advocacy efforts, so that we can have an impact for generations to come, and sustain the progress we make. We need to look beyond the normal and be involved in innovative and impactful research projects that will be beneficial for the future.”
The Mahathir Science Award, is given jointly by the Mahathir Science Award Foundation and Academy of Sciences Malaysia – to researchers or institutions who have made internationally recognised scientific breakthroughs in pioneering tropical research that have brought greater positive impacts to society in the fields of Tropical Medicine, Tropical Agriculture, Tropical Architecture and Engineering and Tropical Natural Resources.
Professor Datuk Dr Asma Ismail, President of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, said: “Sir Alimuddin has proved time and time again that his mission is to serve the world through his research and global collaborative efforts. Our decision to award Sir Alimuddin the award was unanimous.”
Nominees for the Mahathir Science Award go through a rigorous selection process modeled on the Nobel Prize (scientific) selection procedures in order to ensure that the award is presented to the best candidate. The evaluation is performed by the Fellows of Academy of Science Malaysia and by an International Advisory Panel which consisted of Nobel Laureate Professor Barry Marshall, previous MSA laureates Emeritus Professor John Sheppard Mackenzie and Professor Alan Cowman, and the former Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Professor Sir Andrew Haines. In deliberating they took into consideration several factors including originality of work, innovation, impact and its significance in solving the health problems of the tropics by improving the quality of life and contributing to the region’s prosperity.
Sir Ali, who is also a Consultant in Infectious Diseases at UCLH, was nominated by Professor Jamshed Bomanji (UCL Medicine), with whom Sir Ali has collaborated with on research projects on application of PET/CT imaging for improved diagnosis and management of infectious diseases.
Professor Bomanji said: “This award is fantastic news. Ali has served UCLH and UCL with great distinction over 27 years – as a clinician, researcher, mentor, leader and more – which is why I nominated him for this award.”
Professor Bryan Williams, Chair of Medicine at UCL and Director of the UCLH NIHR Biomedical Centre, said: “I’m absolutely delighted Ali has received this very prestigious award which is richly deserved and is testament to his ground breaking work over many years spanning disciplines, institutions and nations. He has had a truly fantastic global impact and is a huge credit to UCLH and UCL.”
- 'Professor Sir Alimuddin Zumla receiving the 2020 Mahathir Science Award.' Credit: Mahathir Science Award Foundation