Richard Scolyer often jokes his dad was bitterly disappointed when he chose to pursue a career in medicine instead of becoming a professional AFL player.
But his dad is anything but disappointed now.
A world-leading pathologist, Professor Scolyer has been at the forefront of many major advancements in the treatment of melanoma, saving thousands of people.
Over two decades, the Launceston-born man has become the globe's most published melanoma pathologist, writing more than 700 scientific articles on the cancer. He's concurrently reviewed 2000 of the world's most difficult cases and jointly headed up the national Melanoma Institute.
That work has seen him appointed a Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia, one of the country's highest accolades, on Sunday.
Professor Scolyer says he's honoured by the nod, but insists he's just the face of a remarkable team effort.
His colleagues are less modest.
"Less than a decade ago, advanced melanoma was an almost certain death sentence," Melanoma Institute co-director and long-time friend Georgina Long says.
"Professor Scolyer's pioneering research ... has changed the face of melanoma diagnosis, treatment, and survival and saved many thousands of lives."
Half of melanoma patients whose cancer had spread around their body were dying within a year, but now 50 per cent are alive after five years thanks to those research breakthroughs.
The biggest has been in the testing and advancement of immunotherapy drugs for melanoma, research which is being applied to a variety of different cancers with the potential to save millions of lives.
But Prof Scolyer isn't satisfied yet.
"My focus is on the other 50 per cent of people who are not surviving with advanced melanoma."
Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world, with one person diagnosed every 30 minutes, and 1300 Australians are still dying from the disease each year.
"We'll keep working relentlessly until we can save all lives from this disease," he said.
"Hopefully it'll be this decade."
Australian Associated Press