Vale Alan Mackay-Sim

Outstanding scientist & dear friend of the HSP community

HSP Research Foundation

It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Professor Emeritus Alan Mackay-Sim AM in early January. He was the principal researcher in the Foundation’s HSP research program from the very start and contributed significantly to the enormous progress made to the understanding of the HSPs over the past 15 years. He and his team made significant discoveries about the disease and subsequently, effective treatments.

Since we began working with Alan in 2007, he had trust in the Foundation and we had trust in him. Alan advanced HSP research for all with his discoveries, culminating in the identification of a clinical trial drug candidate for SPG4.

Alan Mackay-Sim

Alan finally succumbed to multiple myeloma that he developed around 2016, leading to an early end to his full-time working days. Despite ill health and long periods away from work, Alan remained dedicated to pushing forward with HSP research, which remained a central professional interest to the end.

The Foundation and the HSP community will always be indebted to him and forever grateful for the achievements and advancements made under his leadership.

Foundation President Frank McKeown said “As someone with whom I worked regularly for over a decade, I came to know a smart, kind and gentle man of enormous calibre whom I will miss. The heartfelt condolences of everyone at the Foundation and in the HSP community go out to his family on their loss”.

Tributes and recognition for Alan, his work and his legacy have come from far and wide. Here are some of them.

From the Prime Minister

“Australia has lost a shining light in the field of neuroscience and stem cell research with the passing of Professor Emeritus Alan Mackay-Sim AM.

While instantly recognisable in academia and biomedical research, it was Professor Mackay-Sim’s work in the laboratory which set him apart.

Recognised as Australian of the Year in 2017, Professor Mackay-Sim’s expertise and studies led to effective drugs for many neurological diseases, and his work on patient sourced stem cells has improved the lives of many thousands of Australians.

Professor Mackay-Sim’s prestigious accolades also include Queenslander of the Year in 2003 and 2017, the 2018 Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal for outstanding contribution to medicine, the 2017 Australasian Neuroscience Society Distinguished Achievement Award, and the 2011 Eureka Science Prize.

Professor Mackay-Sim’s contribution to health and medicine cannot be overstated.

He was also a proud supporter of Australia’s next generation of health and medical researchers.”

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Australian of the year Awards

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Griffith University

Griffith University is paying tribute to one of its finest in Professor Emeritus Alan Mackay-Sim AM known to many as a pioneering stem-cell research scientist and former recipient of the Australian of the Year award.

Professor Mackay-Sim passed away early in the new year at the age of 71.

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ABC News

Alan in the lab at Griffith University

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