The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation's (ANSTO) Principle Technical Consultant, Michael Druce has received the Public Service Medal in the 2020 Australia Day for his near 40-year commitment to nuclear medicine production.
A Cronulla resident, Mr Druce was selected for playing a pivotal role in Australia's development of the advanced manufacturing of molybdenum-99, the precursor to the technetium-99m, which is used widely to diagnose cancers heart disease and other conditions.
Only 100 Public Service Medals (PSM) are awarded to Australian public servants for outstanding service, with Mr. Druce recognised for his instrumental role in nuclear medicine production at ANSTO.
In 2006, Mr Druce oversaw the development and installation of the nuclear medicine processing plant which coincided with the operation of the new OPAL reactor, doubling its capacity.
He championed the GentechTM Tc-99m Generator, which improved the availability of the drug to patients across the country and later laid the foundation for the approval and establishment of a new ANSTO nuclear medicine manufacturing facility.
ANSTO's CEO, Dr Adi Paterson, said that there are few people in the world with a better knowledge of nuclear medicine processes and production.
"We are grateful to Michael for his unwavering service to ANSTO and the benefits this continues to bring to patients who need to access nuclear medicine," Dr Paterson said.
"While Michael's outstanding contribution is well known at ANSTO, we are delighted that his achievements have been formally recognised with a Public Service Medal.
"In the period that Michael has worked in the supply of nuclear medicine from ANSTO, we estimate that more than 100 million patients have benefitted from its use.
"Michael's commitment to continual improvement in production and transportation continues to be crucial to this industry.
"I know this award means a great deal to Michael and on behalf of everyone at ANSTO, we congratulate him".
The Public Service Medal is an internationally recognised award within the Australian Honours and Awards system and acknowledges outstanding service by employees of the Australian Government.