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Dr Tania de Koning-Ward, from Deakin University’s Molecular Medicine Research Facility, has received the Commonwealth Health Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.
The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, presented the gold medal to Dr de Koning-Ward at a dinner held by the Australian Society for Medical Research in Melbourne in June.
"This is fantastic news and well deserved recognition of Tania's excellent research in this very significant area," said Deakin's DVC (Research), Professor Lee Astheimer.
"On behalf of the University, I offer her our warm congratulations!"
The head of Deakin's Medical School, Professor Brendan Crotty, also congratulated Dr de Koning-Ward.
"This is a very significant achievement and the School of Medicine is delighted with her success," Professor Crotty said.
Dr de Koning-Ward said she was surprised to receive the honour, which recognised her research dating back 12 years and her supporting role of graduate and postgraduate students.
"I guess my initial thought was how good this was for Deakin University," she said.
"It is also recognition for the team of researchers we have built up and the amazing work they are doing."
In 2009, Dr de Konig-Ward's team made a world-renowned breakthrough by discovering the way in which malaria makes red blood cells "sticky".
"The $50,000 prize that goes with this prize will help the team find out more about the process in the hope ol creating a vaccine or drug to fight the disease, which kills 800,000 people a year, most below the age of five," she said.