Australia Day honour for Liggins adviser

29 January 2015

Professor John Funder, a former Chair of the Liggins Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board, was recognised with the award of Companion of the Order to Australia in this week’s Australia Day Honours.

The citation for Professor Funder’s award reads: “For eminent service to medicine, particularly to cardiovascular endocrinology, as a renowned researcher, author and educator, to the development of academic health science centres, and to mental illness, obesity, and Indigenous eye-health programs.”

The Companion of the Order of Australia is awarded “for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or humanity at large”. It is the highest level of recognition in the Order of Australia after Knights and Dames.

Liggins Institute Director Professor Wayne Cutfield paid tribute to Professor Funder saying, “This is an extraordinary achievement for John capping an extraordinary career as a highly regarded world class research scientist in medicine. He has published in excess of 500 manuscripts and has been one of the world’s leading researchers on the mineralocorticoid receptor.”

Professor Funder has for many years been a tireless supporter and advocate for the Liggins Institute. A particular passion was his drive to increase the numbers and quality of papers published by its PhD students.

“He freely offered to review students’ draft manuscripts and whenever he visited the Liggins would make a point of prodding students to get manuscripts submitted,” said Cutfield.

To recognise Funder’s contribution to the Liggins and his passion to see students publish, the Institute named its annual prize for the best student publication the John Funder Award.

“Currently John is the sole judge of this award, a role he takes very seriously,” added Professor Cutfield. “He not only carefully reads the published student manuscripts but also associated commentaries and letters to the editor as well as scoping the associated research field.”

Professor Funder is already an Officer of the Order of Australia; this latest Honour is further recognition of his long and distinguished academic and research career, which has included leadership of some of Australia’s most highly regarded medical research centres, including Director of the Baker Institute and Deputy Director Prince Henry’s Institute, Melbourne. He is a Patron and former Executive Chairman of Obesity Australia.