Peter Doherty’s pioneering research into human immune systems earned him the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1996.
In 1988, after working in Philadelphia and again in Canberra, he was Head of the Department of Immunology at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee (1988 – 1998) and was involved in research into childhood cancer.
He was Australian of the Year and awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1997.
In 2002 he took up an appointment as Laureate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. He now divides his life between the US and Australia, where he is helping to promote national policy initiatives focused on the future of science, innovation and higher education.
Doherty has said that his success as a scientist stems from “a non-conformist upbringing, a sense of being something of an outsider, and looking for different perceptions in everything from novels, to art, to experimental results. I like complexity, and am delighted by the unexpected.”
Professor Doherty’s books include THE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO WINNING THE NOBEL PRIZE (2006), LIGHT HISTORY OF HOT AIR (2008), and SENTINEL CHICKEN: WHAT BIRDS TELL US ABOUT OUR HEALTH AND OUR WORLD (2012).
His primary focus in writing for a broader (rather than a scientific) audience is to intrigue, inform and entertain about aspects of the natural world and how we interrogate it. His subtext is to put the case that the future of humanity depends on our engaging with evidence based reality (rather than convenient fantasies).