Professor Andrew Mercer is widely recognised as New Zealand’s most pre-eminent virologist. His sustained leadership has been recognised in 2009 with appointment to a prestigious endowed chair in viral pathogenesis at the University of Otago. Andrew is the most prolific author in the field of parapoxvirus research according to the web of science and he is regularly to contributes to major international reviews. He is the world expert for this group of viruses as a member of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. As well as his fundamental work Andrew has developed an applied focus and made links extensively to industry. In the last year he has been awarded the ‘Distinguished Researcher of the Year for 2009 by the Otago School of Medical Sciences.