Professor John Aitken PhD, ScD, FRSE
Professor Aitken is Chair of Memphasys' Scientific Advisory Committee and, together with the University of Newcastle, partner in the commercialisation of the Felix technology.
Professor Aitken was awarded the prestigious Carl G. Hartman Award for reproductive Biology in 2016. The award recognizes outstanding work in the field of reproductive biology and is one of the most prestigious international awards in this area. Professor Aitken is only the second researcher working outside the USA to have won this award.
Laureate Professor John Aitken
John Aitken is a global leader in reproductive biology who was named as NSW Scientist-of-the-Year in 2012. Based at the University of Newcastle, he was formerly President of the International Society of Andrology, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Medicine and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development. He is currently Director of the Priority Research Centre in Reproductive Science and Distinguished Laureate Professor of Biological Sciences.
Professor Aitken heads up a research team in the Faculty of Science at University of Newcastle that is making significant inroads into human reproductive issues. His research achievements include identifying a major cause of male infertility that has resulted in new methods of therapeutic intervention and the development of a contraceptive approach that would both prevent pregnancy and inhibit the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Professor Aitken and his team have also been responsible for identifying a range of environmental and other factors, including environmental toxicants, lifestyle factors and radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation that create DNA damage in the germ line. This damage, in turn, leads to increases in the mutational load carried by the offspring that could impact their long term health trajectory and, in particular, their risk of contracting neuropsychiatric disorders or certain forms of cancer.
The work of Professor Aitken not only addresses human reproduction but also animal reproduction where his research is a crucial aspect of improving the efficiency of Australia’s world-leading horse breeding industry.
Professor John Aitken has been collaborating with Memphasys Ltd to develop the 'Felix', device which aims to improve the selection and collection of vital, healthy spermatozoa, free from significant DNA damage, in the critical early stages of the IVF process.
Professor Aitken joined the University in 1999 after forging an impressive international career, which included heading up two Geneva-based independent World Health Organisation task forces dealing with fertility regulation. John has published over 650 research articles, given more than 430 invited lectures and filed 12 patents. His work has been cited ~50,000 times (h-index of 115), the highest citation index in his field and in the top 5% for all of Biology and Biochemistry. According to Expertscape.com he is ranked #1 in the world in sperm biology and fertilization while the Australian magazine named him as Australia’s leading reproductive biologist. Since arriving in Newcastle he has generated >$50 million in research income. He is on the Editorial Boards of eight journals and current Chairman of the CellOxess and Memphasys Ltd's Scientific Advisory Boards.