Professor William C. Campbell becomes second Irish recipient of Nobel Prize for Science

Professor William C. Campbell becomes second Irish recipient of Nobel Prize for Science

IRISH scientist Professor William C. Campbell has received this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine at a ceremony in Stockholm.

The 85-year-old Co. Donegal native was presented with the joint award alongside Japanese scientist Satoshi Omura and Chinese researcher Tu Youyou on Thursday, December 10.

Professor Campbell and Mr Omura were recognised for their work in discovering the drug ivermectin.

Among the ailments treated by the discovery are malaria, river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis.

When the Nobel Prize winners were announced in October, Professor Campbell became the second Irish person to win a Nobel Prize for Science.

Ernest Walton collected the physics award in 1951 for his work on splitting the atom.

Ms Youyou also received the joint Nobel Prize for Medicine 2015 for discovering artemisinin, a drug that has slashed the number of malaria-related deaths.

On presenting the award Professor Hans Forssberg, Member of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, said:

Professors William Campbell, Satoshi Ōmura and Tu Youyou your discoveries represent a paradigm shift in medicine, which has not only provided revolutionary therapies for patients suffering from devastating parasitic diseases, but also promoted well-being and prosperity for individuals and society. The global impact of your discoveries and the resulting benefit to mankind are immeasurable.

Mr Campbell, an emeritus at Drew University in New Jersey, and his colleague made the breakthrough discovery after studying compounds from soil bacteria.

The treatment has proven so successful that river blindness and lymphatic filariasis are now on the verge of being eradicated.

Prof Campbell was born in Derry in 1930 and grew up in Ramelton in Co. Donegal.

He studied at Trinity College Dublin, before moving to the US, where he got his PhD and worked as a parasite biology researcher.