World expert speaks on bioterrorism and emerging infections

World renowned and esteemed Australian virologist Professor Frank Fenner will present the inaugural Rod Andrew Oration this week at Monash University. His topic "Big lessons from smallpox: bioterrorism and emerging infections" is timely and sure to be thought-provoking.

Professor Fenner chaired the World Health Organisation's Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication. In December 1979 he declared the world free of smallpox and has since been outspoken on issues surrounding the management of the remaining stores of the virus and bioterrorism risks. This Thursday 22 April, Professor Fenner will speak on new and emerging viruses and the lessons we may learn from the handling of smallpox eradication.

The Rod Andrew Oration is a new tradition instigated by Professor Ed Byrne, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and the medical school alumni, to honour Professor Rod Andrew, the Faculty's founding Dean from 1960 until 1976. Professor Andrew was not one to shy away from controversy, and he vigorously debated issues affecting the medical profession including doctors' salaries and involvement in the Vietnam War.

Professor Fenner's lecture will kick off an annual program of prestigious lectures that are aimed at inspiring alumni, staff, students and the public on important health-related issues.

Professor Byrne said the university was particularly honoured that Frank Fenner had agreed to give the inaugural Rod Andrew Oration as it was he whom Rod Andrew invited to speak at the first medical graduation ceremony at Monash University 40 years ago.

Continuing in the spirit of Professor Andrew's love of debate, the Oration will be followed by a Monash Medical Alumni panel discussion on "Man, microbes and manipulation: who's controlling who?". The panel will be moderated by media health commentator and Monash alumnus Dr Sally Cockburn, and consists of Professor Fenner, Professor Paul Komesaroff (Director of the Monash Centre for the Study of Ethics and Medicine in Society), Dr Tillman Ruff (infectious diseases physician and President elect of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War) and health lawyer Mr William Keough.

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