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26/09/2016 - Honour for Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell

Prof William C Campbell 379 x 269

Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell


Nobel Laureate Professor William C. Campbell will be honoured at a Civic Reception this evening being hosted by the Cathaoirleach and members of Donegal County Council at the County House, Lifford at 6pm.


The Civic Reception is being hosted in recognition for his outstanding achievement in jointly winning the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


A native of Ramelton, Professor William C. Campbell was part of a team that discovered a class of drugs called avermectins, whose derivatives have been shown to have "extraordinary efficacy" in treating River Blindness and Lymphatic filariasis, among other parasitic diseases affecting animals and humans. 


He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2015 along with Satoshi Omura of Japan and Youyou Tu from China for their discoveries that have revolutionised the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases.


Prof Campbell was born in 1930 in Ramelton, the third son of R. J. Campbell, a farm supplier.  He is married to Mary Mastin Campbell and as well as being a scientist he is a published poet and painter.


Professor Campbell studied at Trinity College, Dublin and graduated in 1952 with first class honours in Zoology.  He then attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison on a Fulbright Scholarship, earning his Ph.D. degree in 1957 for work on the liver fluke, a parasite affecting sheep. 


From 1957 to 1990 Campbell worked at Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research.  From 1990 to 2010, when he retired, Campbell was a research fellow at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where he supervised undergraduate research and taught courses in parasitology.   


In 1987, Merck with the World Health Organization created an "unprecedented" drug donation program, with the intention of wiping out River Blindness.  Professor Campbell was instrumental in the decision to set up this program.  As of 2001 an estimated 25 million people were being treated each year, in a total of 33 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.  As of 2013, the Carter Center independently verified that the disease had been eradicated in Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico.


Cllr. Terence Slowey, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council said that “Professor Campbell’s lifes work has impacted on so many people.  Hundreds of millions of people are alive today because of his work.  I have been particularly touched by how he has engaged with our children and young people and how he has captured the imagination of the county and I am looking forward to this evening’s ceremony”.


The Civic Reception will take place at 6pm in the County House Lifford on Monday 26 September 2016.








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