Campbell Returns to Ireland for Dublin Lecture

Royal Irish Academy Discourse by 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine William C. Campbell. (Photo: Johnny Bambury / RIA)

By Olivia O'Mahoney
April / May 2018

Distinguished parasitologist, Nobel prize winner, and 2017 Irish America Hall of Fame inductee Dr. William Campbell delivered an academic discourse at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin in November. Campbell, who was in Ireland to receive the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, was born in 1930 in Ramelton, County Donegal, and has held honorary membership of the Royal Irish Academy since March 2017.

Campbell spoke on the subject of river blindness, a disease caused by parasites, and its treatment, a route he himself pioneered with the development of the drug ivermectin (later named mectizan), which has been revolutionary in animal and human medicine. The drug was developed in the late 1980s and annually saves the eyesight of over 25 million people today.

Campbell conducted his research during his 33-year career at the Merck Institute of Therapeutic Research. The entire process “involved a lot of hard work and a lot of persistence,” he told Irish America in 2017. In his lecture, he posited that such determination applied in other areas could yield great things for the future of medicine. ♦


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