Farewell and Profound Thanks to Professor Ian Gust

Australia is an international leader in detecting and preventing global viral threats thanks, in large part, to the passion and advocacy of Professor Ian Gust AO. Ian has, quite simply, been a global champion for vaccine development and for ensuring that vaccines are available to all countries – developed and developing.

Earlier this month Ian stepped down as the Chair of Biomedical Research Victoria after almost seven years at the helm. All at BioMedVic and many others are indebted to Ian for his freely given advice, expertise and mentorship and for his unerring judgment and focus on the path that has led to the trusted and influential position the organisation occupies today.

In this column we want to remind readers, many of which know Ian well, of the giant he is in Australian and international science.

His contributions to virology have been recognised by numerous international awards. Ian played crucial roles in developing treatment and prevention strategies for diseases caused by Hepatitis A and B, HIV and the Human Papilloma virus, and developing vaccines against Hepatitis A. After more than 20 years as a medical virologist at the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, Ian was appointed as the inaugural director of the Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical Research, Fairfield Hospital, now commonly known as the Burnet Institute.

Ian has been a Board Member of several Victorian and US-based biotechnology companies and medical research institutes, as well as a number of high profile public health initiatives. These include the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Influenza, the National Influenza Pandemic Planning Committee, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in New York, the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, the Australian International Health and Nossal Institutes and the Penington Institute. Ian co-founded a national immunisation task force and was a key member of the International Task Force for Hepatitis B Immunization. He completed his term as Chair of the Victorian Biotechnology Advisory Council in 2015.

As the Director of R&D at CSL, Professor Gust helped raise Australia’s profile in the international pharmaceutical space by contributing to the transformation of the government’s Commonwealth Serum Laboratories into CSL Limited. Today, CSL is a major ASX100 company in the international blood products and biologicals sectors, with a market capitalisation of over $40 billion and over 13,000 employees working in 27 countries.

A long and distinguished career in medical research, research translation and the commercialisation of research outcomes, Biomedical Research Victoria is fortunate indeed to count Professor Ian Gust among its family.