UNSW Professor and Executive Director of the UNSW-affiliated Garvan Institute, John Shine, has been honoured with the 2010 Prime Minister's Prize for Science, the nation's most highly respected award for scientific achievement for his work in gene cloning and biotechnology.

The prize is awarded for "outstanding specific achievement or series of related achievements in any area of science advancing human welfare or benefiting society".

Professor Shine, who holds a conjoint position with UNSW's St Vincent's Clinic School, is world-renowned for a series of discoveries made between 1975 and 1985 that furthered our understanding of how genes are turned into the proteins that do the work in cells. He also developed sophisticated gene cloning techniques that helped revolutionise the world of biotechnology.

"Winning the Prime Minister's Science Prize is an enormous honour," said Professor Shine, who received an honorary Doctorate of Science from UNSW in 2006.

"Most pleasing though is that the Prize itself is a recognition of the importance that government and the community places on science and its role in the social and economic well being of our country," he said.

After working in the US for much of the 1980s, Professor Shine returned to Australia in 1987 to take up a professorship in molecular biology at UNSW and to become the deputy director of the Garvan Institute. He became Garvan director in 1990, when gene cloning was starting to have a big impact in medical research. Since then he has held many influential scientific advisory roles, including Chairman of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) from 2003-2006 and Vice President (Biological Sciences) Australian Academy of Science from 2002-2007.

To read the full story about Professor Shine's award go to the Garvan website.

Contact: Alison Heather, Garvan Science Communications Manager |02 9295 8128