The Prix Galien Canada 2013 - Research awarded to Dr. Francis Allan Plummer
The Prix Galien Canada 2013 -Research has been awarded to Dr. Francis Allan Plummer, Chief Scientific Officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Scientific Director of the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, and Distinguished Professor – Departments of Medical Micobiology and Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.
Dr. Plummer graduated with his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1976, is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and holds Honorary Degrees from the University of Calgary and McMaster University. He is the recipient of numerous Awards and Honors, including: Officer of the Order of Canada and of the Order of Manitoba, Distinguished Professor (University of Manitoba), Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada and an HIV Research Achievement Award.
Dr. Plummer is an exceptional scientist who has made very significant contributions in the field of HIV research and is clearly recognized as an international leader in this field. His contributions to HIV research began with his work in Nairobi working with prostitutes with multiple exposures to HIV individuals. Some of these women remained uninfected with HIV despite the multiple exposures. This led to a series of investigations, international collaborations and some very important discoveries about the susceptibility to HIV infection and transmissibility.
Dr. Allan Francis Plummer accepts the Prix Galien Canada 2013 - research Award
from Dr. Jacques Gagné, President of the Jury of Prix Galien Canada.
His most important work has been around the sexual transmission of HIV and understanding the epidemiology in the Nairobi prostitutes. Careful epidemiological studies have shown the importance of male circumcision, the importance of genital ulcers in HIV transmission, key studies on transmission from mother to infant, and the identification of a cohort of prostitutes that were resistant to HIV transmission. He was the principal author on key papers showing the resistance to HIV among persistently seronegative prostitutes in Nairobi. He demonstrated cross reactivity of HIV-specific cytotoxic T-lymphopcytes in highly exposed seronegative women. He also demonstrated a CD8+ lymphocyte response in the cervix of HIV-resistant prostitutes which was important in maintaining the seronegative status. He also demonstrated the presence of mucosal and plasma IgA from HIV exposed individuals who remained seronegative. The IgA was able to inhibit HIV transmission to
epithelial cells. It is the work on CD4/CD8 specific responses to HIV and specific HLA-allotyping that is important in seronegative patients. These basic studies have also provided encouragement for the development of HIV-vaccines.
Dr. Plummer holds patents on his SARS and HIV related research. Despite being appointed as the Scientific Director of the National Microbiology Laboratory for Health Canada, he still maintains grant success, publications, leadership rôle in his field of specialty and training of graduate students. His research funding is exceptional ( in the neighborhood of $6 M annually). He has had an impact on many graduate students : 21 Ph.D., 7 Msc, 3 MPH and 7 PDF plus 15 Infectious Disease Fellows.
Dr. Plummer has another wonderful attribute. He is the builder of a successful organization, the University of Manitoba-University of Nairobi Collaborative Research Program which brought in major collaborators from Oxford, University of Ghent, University of Washington, Tropical Diseases Institute in Antwerp and University of Toronto. This organization remains a major focus of international research collaboration on HIV.
As the Scientific Director of the National Microbiology Laboratory he has done a remarkable job. This world class laboratoy has dealt with major outbreaks of infectious diseases nationally (SARS, MERS, MRSA, C. difficile, H1N1influenza and more recently H9N7 influenza) and internationally. He has served as a National Advisor of the National Academy of Sciences, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the governments of Kenya, India and Lesotho on the AIDS/Hiv problem.
In summary, Dr. Plummer is an exceptional scientist who has made very significant contributions to the field of HIV research and is clearly recognized as an international leader in this field. His scientific career has been exceptional. His work has had a major impact on the health of populations world-wide.