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A leading immunologist and former member of the Otago department of microbiology and immunology (1998-2012), Prof Baird does research in the Otago pathology department.
She had been ''stunned'' to recently receive the society's Derek Rowley Medal, and felt a ''very honoured'' but ''rather unworthy'' recipient.
Prof Baird was the first New Zealander to gain the medal, which has been awarded since 2005 to individuals giving ''outstanding service'' to the society, and to immunology over many years.
The award had been ''very encouraging'' and she hoped young immunologists would ''contribute as much as they can'' to the society.
''They will receive one hundred-fold more in return - as I have''.
Otago University officials said Prof Baird had been recognised for her long support of immunology students and staff, and for co-founding Immunet, New Zealand's network of immunologists, with the late Associate Prof Glenn Buchan, also a leading immunologist.
She edited the society newsletter for three years and organised a recent society workshop on immunity and infection.
Her work at the Otago microbiology department focused on antigen-presenting dendritic cells, which are part of the human immune system.
The late English-born Emeritus Prof Derek Rowley, of the University of Adelaide, founded the Australian (now Australasian) Society for Immunology.