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U of M researcher wins $100K award for work on HIV/AIDS

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Dr. Frank Plummer

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Dr. Frank Plummer

A University of Manitoba doctor has been recognized for his ground-breaking work in HIV/AIDS research.

Dr. Frank Plummer, a distinguished professor at the university and Canada Research Chair in Resistance and Susceptibility to Infections, is one of five winners of the esteemed Killam Prize, an award given annually by the Canada Council for the Arts to outstanding national scholars for work in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering.

Plummer earned his honour in the health sciences category.

Plummer’s research in the early 1980s, finding that woman were just as likely to acquire HIV sexually as men were, changed the world view of AIDS moving forward. His later work found that HIV transmission rates soared from women to men, especially if these men were not circumcised.

Thanks to Plummer’s work, male circumcision is now a core strategy in HIV prevention globally.

Plummer and his colleagues later discovered a natural immunity among Nairobi female sex trade workers, launching research into developing a vaccine for HIV.

Plummer, who has more than 300 published articles on his research, co-founded the University of Manitoba-University of Nairobi Collaborative Research Program. He is also the scientific director general of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, as well as the chief science officer.

Plummer is the fourth Killam Prize recipient to hail from the University of Manitoba, joining Lotfollah Shafai (2011), Frank Hawthorne (2008), and Ralph G. Stanton (1985).

The $100,000 prize stands among this country’s most distinguished research awards. Recipients are chosen by a committee of 15 renowned Canadian scholars appointed by the Canada Council.

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