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Kirby Institute announces new Director

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13 February 2019
Image - Kirby Institute announces new Director

Estelle Jones

One of the Kirby Institute's long-time champions has been appointed as its new Director and "could not be prouder" to carry on the Institute's life-saving research. 

Leading international HIV researcher and clinician Professor Anthony Kelleher has been appointed Director of the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney. The Kirby Institute has been at the forefront of infectious disease research, in Australia and globally, for more than 30 years.

The announcement was made on Tuesday to Kirby Institute staff by UNSW Medicine Dean, Professor Rodney Phillips.

The Kirby Institute’s inaugural Director, Professor David Cooper, passed away last year.

“Professor Kelleher was appointed through a rigorous international recruitment process,” said Professor Phillips. “He is an accomplished and highly respected academic and clinician in the field of immunology and HIV research, with a long career in various leadership roles across the Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney and St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.

“He will provide powerful leadership to carry forward the impactful and live-saving health research of the Kirby Institute.”

Professor Kelleher has worked at the Kirby Institute since 2001 and been a member of its executive team since 2005. He is Head of the Immunovirology and Pathogenesis Program, which operates out of the Kirby Institute’s Glendonbrook Laboratories.

“It is a true honour to be named Director of the Kirby institute and I am excited by the challenge of growing the impact of the Institute’s research even further by working closely with its strong academic and research support teams,” said Professor Kelleher.

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The late David Cooper. Photo Maja Baska

“The Kirby Institute, it’s staff, collaborators, and the people and communities we serve, have been the inspirational core of my career. David Cooper was an incomparable mentor and dear friend. I could not be prouder than to carry forward the Institute’s innovative and life-saving research.”

Michael Kirby, Patron of the Kirby Institute, congratulated Professor Kelleher on his appointment.

“He is the perfect person to continue the vision for the Kirby Institute pioneered by its first Director, Professor David Cooper: pushing the boundaries of science, engaging with the communities and patients most affected, cooperating with other nations, exploring the links between targeting infections and upholding human rights. But Tony Kelleher is his own person. He will have new scientific worlds to conquer. He will dream new dreams. And he will take us all with him on the journey. That is the way of world class medical research today,” he said.

The President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW, Professor Ian Jacobs, also welcomed the news of Professor Kelleher’s permanent appointment to the role. “Professor Kelleher shared Professor Cooper’s passion for the work of the Kirby Institute and the great service it provides communities, here at home and around the world,” Professor Jacobs said.

“David’s wonderful legacy is in exceptionally good hands.”