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31 Jan 2024

Infectious diseases expert Professor Michelle Giles honoured with Medal of the Order of Australia

University of Melbourne Professor Michelle Giles has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her remarkable service to medicine. This prestigious honour was announced on the 2024 Governor-General's 26 January Honours List.

With over two decades of expertise in infectious diseases, Professor Giles has been a prominent figure in the health and medicine landscape of Victoria. Notably, she has made a lasting impact and emerged as a leading authority in infections in pregnancy and maternal immunisation. She also played an important role in the Australian COVID-19 response, by supporting the Government with the control of community transmission and by leading policy advice for the COVID-19 vaccination program. 

Professor Giles holds academic positions at the Department of Infectious Diseases at University of Melbourne at the Doherty Institute and at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University. In addition, she has clinical appointments at Alfred Health, The Royal Women’s Hospital, and Monash Health where she serves as the Director of the Infections in Pregnancy Service. 

University of Melbourne Laureate Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, congratulated Professor Giles on her achievement.   

“Michelle’s passion for her work is truly inspiring. Her tireless efforts in improving outcomes from infections in pregnancy and her exceptional leadership in vaccine policy has had a broad impact on all Australians,” said Professor Lewin.   

“Congratulations to Michelle on this well-deserved honour, acknowledging her significant impact in the field of infectious diseases through both clinical work and research." 

Professor Giles’ extensive involvement in national and global initiatives attests to her remarkable contributions. She founded the Victorian Maternal and Paediatric HIV Service in 2009 and the Women's and Children's Immunisation Service at the Sunshine Hospital in 2017. She has been on the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce Pregnancy and Perinatal Care Panel since its inception, is Deputy Chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), and has had  a number of roles in an advisory capacity to the WHO including most recently being appointed to the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Group B Streptococcus Vaccine Development (TAG-GBS) and the WHO mpox Clinical Guideline Development Group. 

Professor Giles reflected on her career and expressed gratitude for the journey that led her to receive this honour. 

“Receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia is a humbling acknowledgment of my work and the positive impact I am fortunate to have made in health and medicine. As I look back, I am grateful for the opportunities that have allowed me to improve health outcomes through my work in infectious diseases, maternal health and immunisation,” said Professor Giles. 

“I love what I do, so it is such a privilege to be honoured with this distinction, especially for work I am deeply passionate about. I want to acknowledge that this esteemed award is not just a personal honour. It is a recognition of the collaborative efforts of my colleagues and the supportive healthcare community that has been so important in my career.”