Melanoma Institute Australia Co-Medical Director and Professor at The University of Sydney, Professor Richard Scolyer, has been recognised in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List announced today by the Governor-General.

Professor Scolyer has been appointed as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia (General Division) for distinguished service to medicine, particularly in the field of melanoma and skin cancer, as a clinician, researcher and educator, and to national and international professional organisations.

Professor Scolyer, born and raised in Launceston, is the world’s most published scientist in the field of melanoma pathology. For two decades he has been at the forefront of virtually all major advances in melanoma, resulting in vast improvements in survival of melanoma patients.

‘Professor Scolyer’s pioneering research, underpinned by his talent, passion and determination, has changed the face of melanoma diagnosis, treatment and survival, and saved many thousands of lives from melanoma,’ said fellow MIA Co-Medical Director, Professor Georgina Long AO.

‘Less than a decade ago, advanced melanoma was an almost certain death sentence, but thanks in no small part to Professor Scolyer’s ground-breaking research and diagnostic breakthroughs we are now steadfast on a course towards reaching zero deaths from this insidious disease.’

Each year, Professor Scolyer receives more than 2,000 of the most difficult cases from around the world for review and diagnosis.

He co-leads MIA, the world’s largest melanoma research and treatment facility, as well as the world-renowned translational research laboratory at The University of Sydney with his colleague and long-time friend Professor Long AO. He is also a senior specialist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital & NSW Health Pathology.

‘It is a proud day for all of us at Melanoma Institute Australia who see first-hand Professor Scolyer’s life-saving contribution to cancer diagnosis and treatment,’ said MIA CEO Matthew Browne. ‘His inclusion in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List could not be more well deserved,’ he added.

Professor Scolyer has co-authored more than 700 peer reviewed publications/book-chapters including in prestigious journals such Save as New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Nature, Cell, Nature Genetics, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of the National Cancer Institute and Cancer Discovery and has presented on more than 370 occasions at conferences throughout the world.

Professor Scolyer’s Queen’s Birthday Honour follows numerous awards including being named the 2020 Outstanding Researcher of the Year at the NSW Premiers Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research, and receiving the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) Distinguished Fellow Award 2020The University of Sydney’s 2020 Alumni Award for International Achievement and being named the Clarivate Web of Science Group “Highly Cited Researcher 2020”. 

Despite his global research and clinical leadership, Professor Scolyer remains firm in his belief that the huge advances in melanoma treatment are a true team effort.

‘We have an amazing team of people doing world leading melanoma research and it’s a huge honour to be leading that team and to be recognised in this way,’ Professor Scolyer said.

‘Every cancer patient ultimately has their cancer diagnosed by a pathologist; what we see down the microscope and our research breakthroughs determine how a patient is treated and managed. Our research provides opportunity not only to benefit a single patient, but to make a difference to many thousands of patients for years to come, and that is what continues to drive us all.’

MIA CEO Matthew Brown commented: “The recognition of Richard completes an extraordinary quartet of honours awarded to the current and most recent medical directorship of MIA. A/Prof Jon Stretch AM (2012), Prof John Thompson AO (2014), Prof Georgina Long AO (2020) and now Prof Richard Scolyer AO (2021). MIA is truly fortunate that its mission has been and continues to be steered by such eminent Australians.”

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world, with one person diagnosed with the disease every 30 minutes. 1300 Australians are expected to die from the disease this year. Melanoma is also the most common cancer impacting 15 to 39-year-olds.

Watch Prof Scolyer speaking about this achievement on #9News: