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Colman Wins Major Science Prize

[Peter Colman] Peter Colman (Photo courtesy of Samar Hasnain)
The $50,000 Victoria Prize, one of Australia’s most prestigious science prizes, has been awarded to eminent biomolecular scientist and long-term synchrotron user Peter Colman.

Peter Colman, Vice-President of the IUCr, is head of structural biology at the Walter and Eliza Hall Inst. in Melbourne. He received the Victoria Prize for his pioneering contribution to the development of Relenza(TM), the world's first neuraminidase inhibitor to treat the influenza virus.

In the late 1980s, Peter (then at CSIRO) worked with Graeme Laver (Australian National U.) and Jose Varghese (CSIRO) to create high-resolution images of the atomic structures of the molecules that control the way the flu virus spreads and infects neighbouring cells. Neuraminidase is an enzyme on the surface of the flu virus that enables the virus to enter and infect new cells. Relenza blocks the action of the neuraminidase enzyme in a way that works with all known strains of the flu virus.