April 2003
Volume 44, Issue 4
Free
Lecture  |   April 2003
Introducing Hugh R. Taylor, the 2002 Recipient of the Weisenfeld Award
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2003, Vol.44, 1412. doi:10.1167/iovs.02-0826
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      Sheila West; Introducing Hugh R. Taylor, the 2002 Recipient of the Weisenfeld Award. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(4):1412. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-0826.

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It is a personal as well as a professional pleasure to introduce Dr. Hugh Taylor, the Ringland Anderson Professor of Ophthalmology and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Melbourne and this year’s recipient of the Mildred Weisenfeld Award. We are all privileged to recognize Dr. Taylor’s long and illustrious career devoted to research on strategies for the prevention and control of blinding diseases. 
After taking his medical degree, internship, and surgical residency in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Taylor became an ophthalmic registrar at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne. Not one to stay put in one place, he spent part of 1975 as a medical officer for the French polar expedition in Antarctica and then proceeded to join Dr. Fred Hollows as Assistant Director for the Australian National Trachoma and Eye Health Program. 
His close personal and professional association with Dr. Hollows and his work among the Australian Aborigines were to have a profound influence on his future career and choice to work among the world’s most disadvantaged populations. He continues to this day his close personal friendship with the Hollows family and has worked in behalf of the Fred Hollows Foundation. 
In 1979, Dr. Taylor became the associate director of the International Center for Preventive Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute and, together with the director, Dr. Sommer, went on to develop the World Health Organization Collaborating Center and start the first master’s in public health program in preventive ophthalmology. In 1990, Dr. Taylor was inaugurated in his grandfather’s chair as the Ringland Anderson Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Melbourne and the Chairman of the Department. 
Dr. Taylor has served as a consultant to several agencies, governments, and foundations, and has been a member or chair on numerous advisory committees, including the Mectizan Expert Committee on Onchocerciasis for the Carter Center, trustee for the River Blindness Foundation and the Fred Hollows Foundation, and Chairman of the Public Health Committee for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. 
Dr. Taylor is one of those rare clinician scientists who combines an outstanding dual career research focus in laboratory science and clinical research. He developed a monkey model for trachoma that provided seminal insights into the progression of clinical disease with rechallenges of Chlamydia ocular infection, and the immunopathogenesis of trachoma. However, fieldwork was always his first love. Whether it was carting around ophthalmic equipment to evaluate cataract in Chesapeake Bay Fishermen in the fire halls of rural Maryland, or working with the World Health Organization to develop a new grading system for trachoma, Dr. Taylor’s research skills and field experiences—not to mention his capacity for beer consumption—are legendary. 
This introduction simply does not permit a review of his protean contributions to the field of preventive ophthalmology. Dr. Taylor has published close to 400 scientific articles. These include his seminal work with colleagues on the value of using ivermectin as chemotherapy for onchocerciasis, his finding of the link between ultraviolet radiation exposure and cortical cataract, and his contributions to the understanding of the pathogenesis of trachoma. 
No description of Hugh is complete without mention of his loving and supportive family: his equally respected and gifted wife, Dr. Elizabeth Dax, and his four lovely children. As his colleagues know, Liz is very tolerant of Hugh’s frequent travels during birthdays, anniversaries, and so forth. However, her issuance of a command appearance at a family vacation or event always took immediate priority, and his staff then glimpsed a rarely seen side of Hugh, who never called anyone else “Boss.” 
Dr. Taylor is also the recipient of several notable awards. Last year, he was recognized by Australia for his research and service in the prevention of blindness by receiving that country’s highest honor for achievement and merit in service to Australia and humanity, the Companion in the General Order, Order of Australia. 
It is my great pleasure to introduce Professor Hugh Taylor, who will present the Mildred Wiesenfeld award lecture. 
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