David Hunter, Richard Doll Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Oxford Population Health, has been appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Australian King’s Birthday Honours List.
In the Australian honours system, appointments as a Companion of the Order of Australia confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service. Professor Hunter’s appointment recognises his ‘eminent service to medicine as an epidemiologist, particularly in relation to disease prevention and early detection, and to the aetiology of breast, colorectal, prostate and skin cancers’.
Professor Hunter’s early research was on HIV transmission in East Africa, and subsequently he was involved in collaborative studies of nutrition and HIV, while also studying diet and the causes of cancer in large-scale prospective studies and founding the Pooling Project of Prospective Studies of Diet and Cancer, an international consortium of 39 cohort studies.
As Director of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, he developed a sample handling and genotyping laboratory to explore genetic associations with cancer, and gene-environment interactions. He founded the Program in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics at Harvard University.
David was co-chair of the steering committee of the Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) between 2003 and 2012, and was co-director of the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Genetic Susceptibility Markers project. He was an Eminent Scholar at the NCI between 2004 and 2009.
From 2009-2016, Professor Hunter was Dean for Academic Affairs at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. He joined Oxford Population Health in 2018 as the Richard Doll Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, director of the Harvard-Oxford Program in Epidemiology, and Director of the Translational Epidemiology Unit. David is also the Chief Science Adviser to Our Future Health. He is one of the world’s most highly cited researchers, and was elected as a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2021.
Professor Hunter said ‘I am delighted and honoured to receive this award which recognises the importance of cancer research. Whilst it is an individual honour, the award is testament to the dedication of all the colleagues I have worked with both at Oxford University and at Harvard, and our collaborators who work with us to improve our understanding of cancer and the lives of cancer patients.’
Nominations for awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia are made directly by the Australian community to recognise the achievements and service of fellow citizens and ‘other persons for achievement or meritorious service'. Nominations are considered by the Council for the Order of Australia which makes recommendations directly to the Governor-General. The King's Birthday 2023 Honours List recipients were announced today by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd).
The Order of Australia was established in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth II as part of a new Australian system of honours and awards. The King is the Sovereign Head of the Order of Australia and the Governor-General as Chancellor is charged with the administration of the Order.
Professor Hunter is one of six distinguished individuals to receive this award in the King's Birthday Honours List. He will receive his medal at a ceremony to be held in September.