Donegal native Dr. William Campbell was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine. He and his colleague, Professor Satoshi Omura, shared the award for having developed therapies that have revolutionized the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases such as onchocerciasis, known as river blindness, and lymphatic filariasis, known as elephantiasis tropica), among other ailments.
One dose of Ivermectin, given in pill form, allows for 18 million children to be born without risk of blindness from onchocerciasis, and it has been completely eradicated in many countries.
Dr. Campbell was born in 1930 in Ramelton Co. Donegal, where his fascination with parasites began when he first encountered them on his family’s farm.
In 1952, he graduated with honors from Trinity College, Dublin, with an undergraduate degree in zoology. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1957 and then worked for Merck’s Institute for Therapeutic Research until 1990.
Campbell is a research fellow emeritus at Drew University in New Jersey and, despite having lived in the United States for many years, has remained exceedingly proud of his Donegal heritage. In fact, he always began his semesters at Drew by showing his new students a picture of his father’s cows on the Mall in his hometown. In November a statue of Campbell will be erected in the town square. See below the almost completed statue by sculpture Paul Ferriter, awaiting the addition of spectacles. ♦