Emeritus Professor Kennedy Shortridge


Honorary award citation

A world-renowned “bird flu” researcher and University of Hong Kong (HKU) Emeritus Professor will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Science at one of The University of Queensland’s three overseas graduations ceremonies in September.

Emeritus Professor Kennedy Shortridge is a pioneer in researching the potentially deadly disease, leading to the establishment of preparation systems to deal with future outbreaks.

Professor Shortridge, a UQ graduate, moved to Hong Kong in 1972 after completing his PhD at The University of London in 1971, commencing studies in 1975 into how avian influenza viruses spread to humans.

His studies drew attention to the importance of domestic poultry and pigs as the most likely sources of virus for humans.

His findings, including the hypothesis in 1982 of southern China’s role as an epicentre for the emergence of pandemic influenza viruses, enabled the development of surveillance and preparation systems for future outbreaks.

Professor Shortridge’s work was crucial to the early detection of the H5N1 "bird flu” outbreak in 1997, potentially saving incalculable lives.

Professor Shortridge, who recently retired from HKU`s Department of Microbiology after 30 years, will receive his degree and address the Hong Kong ceremony on Friday, September 17.

Professor Shortridge’s vital work earned him a Prince Mahidol Award in Public Health in 1999 for services to the global community toward the control of "bird flu”.

Professor Shortridge has been a WHO advisor or consultant on the ecology of influenza viruses (1977–2002) with a continuing interest in the field. He is an Honorary Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow with an interest in international activities, particularly hepatitis B vaccination in rural China.


Doctor of Science honoris causa