Nobel laureate, Professor William C Campbell, returns to Zoology roots

30 November 2017

Nobel laureate and Trinity alumnus, Professor William C. Campbell, returned to the Zoology Department from which his remarkable scientific career began to hand out three awards to current Zoology students. The awards were established on the back of his Nobel Prize success.

Professor Campbell won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for developing the drug Ivermectin that has almost eradicated river blindness. This work, carried out at Merck pharmaceuticals, was a direct extension of his education in parasitology in the Zoology department at Trinity.

Professor Campbell made a donation to Zoology from the Campbell Nobel Fund to establish the W. C. Campbell Moderatorship Prize, Undergraduate Research Prize, and Postgraduate Teaching Inspiration Award. Undergraduate James Orr won the first two prizes, and PhD Candidate, Maureen Williams, the latter.

Aptly, James Orr is to start a PhD in Trinity with a focus on parasite biology next year. He said: “It's a real privilege to be awarded these prizes. I have had a fantastic experience studying Zoology in Trinity and I've made great friends along the way. Meeting Professor Campbell was an inspiring and motivating experience that I will never forget. I was amazed by how humble he was and how much interest he showed in everything and everyone around him.”

James Orr chats with Professor William C Campbell in the Zoology Museum.

Maureen Williams, a PhD student in the Parasitology group, said: “The line of mentorship that began with William Campbell and his mentor Desmond Smyth has led to countless lives saved and produced a number of world-class scientists. I consider myself extremely fortunate to pass on my own love of parasites and fieldwork to the next potential Trinity scientists, and to win the inaugural W.C. Campbell Postgraduate Teaching Inspiration Award.”

While in Trinity, Professor Campbell made one more surprise donation that will be of tremendous inspirational value to future scientists.

Professor of Zoology at Trinity, Yvonne Buckley, said: ““Professor Campbell produced his old dissection kit, which he bought as a student when he started in Zoology in the late 1940s, and donated it to the Zoological Museum. We are delighted to have it – it will forever serve as a moving reminder that our students go on to do remarkable things.

Professor William C Campbell returns an incredible Trinity heirloom to the Zoology Department.

During his return to Trinity, Professor Campbell also launched the new Undergraduate Science Programme while inspiring a packed lecture hall full of secondary school students with a colourful and insightful story of his life-long scientific adventure.

You can read about the Undergraduate Science Programme Launch here.

Media Contact

Thomas Deane, Press Officer for the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science | deaneth@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4685

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