King's Birthday award for pioneer of plant-grown medicines

12 June 2023

An IMB scientist has been recognised with one of the highest orders in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

Professor David Craik is one of only 46 Australians to be appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, as more than 1,100 people were recognised for their contributions and service to the community.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry AO congratulated community members who were recognised on the Honours List.

“I’m pleased to see so many members of our UQ community recognised and celebrated for their outstanding contributions to society,” Professor Terry said.

“Each one of them should be immensely proud of their achievements, which also help to highlight the impact of research, teaching and learning at UQ.”

Support from others key to success

Professor David Craik was recognised for his distinguished service to science in the field of biological and medicinal chemistry, to tertiary education, and as a mentor.

“I felt very humbled and excited as it recognises the hard work of my team of talented and dedicated researchers,” Professor Craik said.

“It also is very nice that it was made possible by the unwavering support of my wife and family over many years while I dedicated a lot of my time to exploring the world of science.”

Growing medicines in plants

Professor Craik discovered a family of circular molecules – or peptides – that can be harnessed for a range of applications including new drug classes and eco-friendly pesticides.

He is part of a team who recently showed that Australian tobacco plants could be used as ‘biofactories’ to manufacture medicines on a large scale, the latest in a decade-long effort to make growing medicines in plants a reality.

Professor Craik was elected as a Fellow of the oldest scientific society in the world, the Royal Society, for his outstanding contribution to science.