UQ immunologist awarded prestigious science medal

14 Mar 2023

Professor Di Yu has been recognised by Australia’s foremost scientific body for his ground-breaking research into the immune system and how to control its antibody responses.

The Australian Academy of Science has awarded the Jacques Miller Medal to the Frazer Institute immunologist for his outstanding contributions in experimental biomedicine.

“I am humbled to receive this honour and be recognised for my research and discoveries over the past 20 years,” Professor Yu said.

“Professor Jacques Miller is a brilliant immunologist and the founder of my research topic, so you can understand how special this medal is to me.”

Professor Yu’s research focuses on the immune system and understanding the production of antibodies, which can protect us from diseases, but can also become pathogenic and attack our own body’s tissue.

“B cells, which are responsible for producing antibodies, are tightly regulated by T calls, but little is known about how that regulation process works,” Professor Yu said.

“My team has discovered that it’s only a subset of T cells that determine which B cells eventually become antibody-producing cells.”

This research by Professor Yu and his colleagues at the Frazer Institute could potentially boost the efficacy of vaccines.

Professor Yu is the Chair in Paediatric Immunotherapy, Professor of Immunology, and inaugural Director of Ian Frazer Centre of Children's Immunotherapy Research at the UQ Children’s Health Research Centre.

The Jacques Miller Award is one of 24 prestigious gongs announced by the Australian Academy of Science today.

It is the second science medal for Professor Yu who was recognised by the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2021 and awarded the Jian Zhou Medal – honouring cervical cancer vaccine co-inventor Professor Jian Zhou. He was also elected a Fellow of Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2022.