NOMINEE:                                DR.PETER HOOPER


AWARDED:                             AGM:        12 TH MAY, 2001



Peter graduated BVSc in 1960 at the University of Queensland.  For the first 8 years after graduation, he worked as a field veterinary officer in the Northern Territory.  During this time, he spent 3 months working on the 1967/68 major outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK.

From 1969 to 1971 he was one of the first departmental veterinarians to be sent by his department to a University for specialist training in pathology.  In his case, he was fortunate to be sent to work with Professor Jubb at the Melbourne University Veterinary Clinical Centre at Werribee, completing a PhD Degree.   There was strong emphasis on the practical side of diagnostic pathology as well as the thesis, which was on the pathology of pyrrolizidine alkaloid poisonings.  The most important finding was the relationship of spongiform changes in the brain to hepatic disease, especially to high levels of blood ammonia.  There were two other PhD students in pathology at Werribee at the time, Nigel Palmer and Wally White.

After Werribee, Peter returned to the Northern Territory where he spent another 10 years in a mix of positions relation to diseased investigations and administration, ultimately as chief veterinary office and then departmental head.  Probably the most serious problem he faced was the difficulty imposed by the original discovery of bluetongue virus in his area.  He was also strongly involved in the programs of eradication of pleuropneumonia, brucellosis and tuberculosis, and of foot and mouth disease in Indonesia.  A very interesting investigative work was one of the first demonstrations of the dangers of minute levels of a cumulative toxin in prepared food, in this case Crotalaria retusa in sorghum intended for export for both animal and human consumption.  It was during this time that there were the beginnings of the ASVP and Peter was one of the first to circulate a slide-of-the-month.

He then spent a year [1981] at James Cook University with Phil Ladds and then spent a hectic three years [1982/85] at the Veterinary Research Institute, Parkville, in the days when the Victorian Department did not charge for any submissions and there were masses of farm, pet and wildlife accessions.  The volume and variety of cases was enormous.  While the old VRI was not a pleasurable place to work it certainly provided a remarkable degree of concentrated experience.

In 1985, Peter joined CSIRO at AHHL.  His original mandate was to develop postgraduate veterinary training courses in exotic and emergency diseases and provide a veterinary service for the laboratory.  In addition, his interest in pathology resulted in histopathology and immunohistochemistry being key parts of the laboratory’s diagnosis and research.  On the training side, the 6-monthly courses have been welcomed by the various departments as fundamental to the skills required of their veterinarians.  ON the diagnosis side, immunohistochemistry has become the key in diagnosing many of the new outbreaks of disease and monitoring progress in eradication, particularly avian influenza and Newcastle disease.  In this respect, there were the first eradications of virulence in Australian NDV strains.  Peter was very strongly involved in the discovery of the Hendra virus, Australian bat lyssavirus and Nipah virus, as well as the identification of the causes of the epidermis of kangaroo blindness and pilchard mortalities.   He has made many contributions to the Australian Veterinary Journal as well as international journals and conferences. 

He has always been a keen supporter of the ASVP by regular contributions to the slide-of-the-month and the newsletter, and by including pathologists in laboratory-based veterinary training at AAHL, as well as circulating comprehensive sets of slides of the important diseases to each laboratory.  He contributed to the training in the recognition of spongiform encephalopathies and arranged for slide sets of typical cases.  In 1989 his laboratory hosted the AGM of the ASVP.  He has always been a keep supporter or and contributor to the Victorian histopathology slide sessions at Werribee.  He retired from CSIRO in February.