Laureate Professor John Aitken
R. John Aitken is currently Laureate Professor of Biological Sciences, Co-Director of the Priority Research Centre in Reproductive Science and Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Medicine at the University of Newcastle, NSW.
John Aitken’s research career began with a PhD in reproductive biology from the University of Cambridge under the supervision of RV Short. Following post-doctoral positions at the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh with Anne McLaren and the University of Bordeaux, he joined the World Health Organization in Geneva, where he managed two WHO task forces within the Human Reproduction Unit dealing with different aspects of fertility control. In 1977, he joined the Medical Research Council’s Reproductive Biology Unit, University of Edinburgh, to establish a research group in reproductive biology with clinical outreach into male infertility. In 1998 he moved to the University of Newcastle, NSW, as Chair of Biological Sciences and, later, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development. He has an Honorary Professorship with the University of Edinburgh and has been elected a Fellow of the Society for Reproductive Biology, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Society of New South Wales and the Australian Academy for Health and Medical Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and former President of the International Society of Andrology.
His area of specialization is reproductive biology with particular emphasis on the differentiation and function of sperm and eggs and the way in which these cells interact to generate a healthy embryo. He has published 10 books and over 550 research articles, which have received more than 35,000 citations. In 2012 he was named as the New South Wales Scientist-of-the-Year.