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Dr John Fitter

Laboratory and Research Manager

School of Medicine and Public Health

Career Summary

Biography

Research Expertise
My research has a diverse background in plant, microbiological and human biology specialising in molecular biology and genetics. I have used this expertise to explore the conservation of hormone regulation in the processes of tadpole metamorphosis and relate this to human birth where the transition from aqueous to terrestrial environments is so similar yet so distant in evolutionary time terms.

Teaching Expertise
I have wide ranging expertise in teaching in diverse settings including lectures, laboratories, field stations and research stations at undergraduate and post-graduate level.

Administrative Expertise
I have significant training in Laboratory Management and OH&S. I am managing the Mothers & Babies Research Centre laboratories and personnel (~100 people) who include an enormous diversity of disciplines including medicine, biology, chemistry, psychology, engineering, mathematics.

Qualifications

  • PhD, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Newcastle
  • Advanced Certificate in Aircraft Maint Eng (Elect), Royal Australian Air Force - RTO
  • Diploma of Business (Frontline Management), GE Consultancy Pty Ltd (RTO)

Keywords

  • development, endocrinology, metamorphosis
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • post graduate training curriculum
  • techniques for teaching

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
060199 Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified 35
060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified 65

Professional Experience

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/04/1993 - 1/06/1995 ARC Research Associate University of Wollongong
Department of Biological Sciences
Australia

Invitations

Participant

Year Title / Rationale
2004 Sessional Teaching program
Organisation: University of Newcastle Description: Tips and techniques for sessional teachers program and subsequent video production now on-line via university intranet
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Chapter (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2006 Rose RJ, Fitter JT, McCurdy DW, Sheahan MB, 'Mitochondrial Somatic Genetics and Homeotic Effects on Flower Morphology', Floriculture, Ornamental and Plant Biotechnology: advances and topical issues, Global Science Books, Isleworth, United Kingdom 210-215 (2006) [B1]
Co-authors David Mccurdy, Ray Rose
2000 Smith R, Changs E-C, Mesiano S, Nicholson R, Cheng Y-H, Bowman M, et al., 'Regulation of parturition: The role of CRH', Hormones and Women's Health The Reproductive Years, Harwood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 215-219 (2000) [B1]
Co-authors Vicki Clifton, Gemma Madsen, Maria Bowman, Roger Smith

Journal article (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Chai SY, Smith R, Fitter JT, Mitchell C, Pan X, Ilicic M, et al., 'Increased progesterone receptor a expression in labouring human myometrium is associated with decreased promoter occupancy by the histone demethylase JARID1A', Molecular Human Reproduction, 20 442-453 (2014) [C1]

Progesterone regulates female reproductive function predominantly through two nuclear progesterone receptors (PRs), PR-A and PR-B. During human parturition myometrial PR expressio... [more]

Progesterone regulates female reproductive function predominantly through two nuclear progesterone receptors (PRs), PR-A and PR-B. During human parturition myometrial PR expression is altered to favour PR-A, which activates pro-labour genes. We have previously identified histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) as an activator of myometrial PR-A expression at labour. To further elucidate the mechanisms regulating PR isoform expression in the human uterus at labour, we have (i) determined the methylation profile of the cytosine-guanine dinucleotides (CpG) island in the promoter region of the PR gene and (ii) identified the histone-modifying enzymes that target the H3K4me3 mark at the PR promoters in term and preterm human myometrial tissues obtained before and after labour onset. Bisulphite sequencing showed that despite overall low levels of PR CpG island methylation, there was a significant decrease in methylated CpGs with labour in both preterm (P < 0.05) and term (P < 0.01) groups downstream of the PR-B transcription start site. This methylation change was not associated with altered PR-B expression, but may contribute to the increase in PR-A expression with labour. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that the histone methyltransferase, SET and MYND domain-containing protein 3 (SMYD3), bound to the PR gene at significantly higher levels at the PR-A promoter compared with the PR-B promoter (P < 0.010), with no labour-associated changes observed. The H3K4 demethylase, Jumonji AT-rich interactive domain 1A (JARID1A), also bound to the PR-A, but not to the PR-B promoter prior to term labour, and decreased significantly at the onset of labour (P = 0.014), providing a mechanism for the previously reported increase in H3K4me3 level and PR-A expression with labour. Our studies suggest that epigenetic changes mediated by JARID1A, SMYD3 and DNA methylation may be responsible, at least in part, for the functional progesterone withdrawal that precipitates human labour. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1093/molehr/gau005
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Gemma Madsen, Roger Smith
2005 Fitter JT, Thomas MR, Niu C, Rose RJ, 'Investigation of Nicotiana tabacum (plus) N suaveolens cybrids with carpelloid stamens', Journal of Plant Physiology, 162 225-235 (2005) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.jplph.2004.02.006
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 11
Co-authors Ray Rose
2002 Mesiano S, Chan EC, Fitter JT, Kwek K, Yeo G, Smith R, 'Progesterone withdrawal and estrogen activation in human parturition are coordinated by progesterone receptor-A expression in the myometrium', Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 87 2924-2930 (2002) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 195Web of Science - 176
Co-authors Roger Smith
2000 West NP, Jungnitz H, Fitter JT, McArthur JD, Guzman CA, Walker MJ, 'Role of phosphoglucomutase of Bordetella bronchiseptica in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis and virulence', INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, 68 4673-4680 (2000)
DOI 10.1128/IAI.68.8.4673-4680.2000
Citations Scopus - 34Web of Science - 30
2000 Cheng Y, Nicholson RC, King BR, Chan EC, Fitter JT, Smith R, 'Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Gene Expresssion in Primary Placental Cells is Modulated by Cyclic Adenosine 3',5'-Monophosphate', The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 85 1239-1244 (2000) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 33Web of Science - 34
Co-authors Roger Smith, Bruce King
2000 Cheng Y, Nicholson RC, King BR, Chan EC, Fitter JT, Smith R, 'Glucocorticoid stimulation of Corticiotrophin-releasing hormone gene expression requires a Cyclic Adenosine 3',5'-Monophosphate regulatory element in human primary Placental Cytotrophoblast Cells', The journal of Clinical Endocrinology And Metabolism, 85 (2000) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 62Web of Science - 56
Co-authors Bruce King, Roger Smith
1997 Ni X, Chan EC, Fitter JT, Smith R, 'Nitric oxide inhibits corticotropin-releasing hormone exocytosis but not synthesis by cultured human trophoblasts', JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM, 82 4171-4175 (1997)
DOI 10.1210/jc.82.12.4171
Citations Scopus - 32Web of Science - 26
Co-authors Roger Smith
1997 West NP, Fitter JT, Jakubzik U, Rodhe M, Guzman CA, Walker MJ, 'Non-motile mini-transposon mutants of Bordetella bronchiseptica exhibit altered abilities to invade and survive in eukaryotic cells', FEMS MICROBIOLOGY LETTERS, 146 263-269 (1997)
DOI 10.1016/S0378-1097(96)00486-7
Citations Scopus - 9Web of Science - 9
1996 Fitter JT, Thomas MR, Rose RJ, SteeleScott N, 'Heteroplasmy of the chloroplast genome of Medicago sativa L cv 'Regen S' confirmed by sequence analysis', THEORETICAL AND APPLIED GENETICS, 93 685-690 (1996)
DOI 10.1007/BF00224063
Citations Scopus - 9Web of Science - 9
Co-authors Ray Rose
1993 FITTER JT, ROSE RJ, 'INVESTIGATION OF CHLOROPLAST DNA HETEROPLASMY IN MEDICAGO-SATIVA L USING CULTURED TISSUE', THEORETICAL AND APPLIED GENETICS, 86 65-70 (1993)
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 8
Co-authors Ray Rose
Show 7 more journal articles

Conference (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Pan X, Smith R, Scott RJ, Fitter J, Zakar T, 'Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH) Expression Is Controlled by DNA Methylation in the Trophoblast', REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES (2014) [E3]
Co-authors Rodney Scott, Roger Smith
2012 Chai S, Fitter JT, Smith R, Madsen GM, 'DNA methylation of progesterone receptor isoforms in term human myometrium', Abstracts. The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012, Gold Coast, QLD (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith, Gemma Madsen
2012 Pan X, Nicholson RC, Scott R, Fitter JT, Smith R, Zakar T, 'DNA methylation associated with induction of CRH gene expression in trophoblast cells', Abstracts. The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012, Gold Coast, QLD (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith, Rodney Scott
2006 Minahan KL, Clulow J, Mahony MJ, Smith R, Fitter JT, 'Different environmental stresses elicit differential CRH responses in limnodynastes peronii', Endocrine Journal-Continuation of Endocrinologia Japonica, Queensland, Australia (2006) [E3]
Co-authors John Clulow, Roger Smith
1990 ROSE RJ, THOMAS MR, FITTER JT, 'THE TRANSFER OF CYTOPLASMIC AND NUCLEAR GENOMES BY SOMATIC HYBRIDIZATION', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, UNIV QUEENSLAND, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (1990)
Citations Web of Science - 18
Co-authors Ray Rose
Show 2 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 13
Total funding $549,054

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20123 grants / $191,814

Nikon C2 + Si Confocal Microscope$75,000

Funding body: Ramaciotti Foundations

Funding body Ramaciotti Foundations
Project Team Professor Ian Symonds, Doctor John Fitter
Scheme Major Equipment Award
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1200728
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

Nikon C2 + Si Confocal Microscope$75,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor John Fitter, Professor Ian Symonds
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1200747
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

Nikon C2 + Si Confocal Microscope $41,814

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor John Fitter
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1201046
Type Of Funding Contract - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFC
UON Y

20082 grants / $24,533

Equipment Grant - Bio Doc IT with M-26 (21 x 26 cm H/L transluminator)$14,933

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor John Fitter
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0189034
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS
UON Y

LED fluorescence illuminators and filter set (525nm + 575DF20) for LAS3000 image analysis system$9,600

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Professor Roger Smith, Professor Ian Symonds, Conjoint Associate Professor Andrew Bisits, Conjoint Professor Tam Zakar, Doctor John Fitter, Doctor Cheng Chan, Conjoint Associate Professor Rick Nicholson, Doctor Giavanna Angeli, Doctor Kaushik Maiti, Doctor Jonathan Paul, Professor Jon Hirst, Doctor Hannah Palliser, Professor Eugenie Lumbers
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0188543
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

20071 grants / $25,670

Beta Radiation Counter Instrument facility$25,670

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Professor Roger Smith, Conjoint Associate Professor Vicki Clifton, Conjoint Professor Tam Zakar, Conjoint Associate Professor Rick Nicholson, Dr Mark Read, Doctor Cheng Chan, Doctor John Fitter, Conjoint Associate Professor Andrew Bisits, Professor Jon Hirst, Doctor Hannah Palliser, Professor Ian Symonds
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2007
Funding Finish 2007
GNo G0188194
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

20051 grants / $7,537

Endocrine Regulation of Normal and Stress-Induced Metamorphosis in an Australian Frog: Limnodynastes peronii$7,537

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor John Clulow, Doctor John Fitter
Scheme Project Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2005
Funding Finish 2005
GNo G0184655
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20041 grants / $11,000

Endocrine regulation of normal and stress-induced metamorphosis in an Australian Frog: Limnodynastes peronii$11,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor John Clulow, Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor John Fitter
Scheme Project Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2004
Funding Finish 2004
GNo G0183520
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20031 grants / $12,000

Interactions of genome, phenome and environmental stress on tadpole metamorphosis$12,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor John Clulow, Doctor John Fitter
Scheme Project Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2003
Funding Finish 2003
GNo G0182398
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20021 grants / $13,000

Expression of the homeobox gene HOXA10 in human parturition$13,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor John Fitter, Professor Roger Smith
Scheme Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2002
Funding Finish 2002
GNo G0181295
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20011 grants / $5,000

The role of CRH and the CRH receptor in hormonal control of frog metamorphosis$5,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor John Fitter, Professor Michael Mahony, Conjoint Professor Anthony Leong
Scheme Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2001
Funding Finish 2001
GNo G0180088
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

19981 grants / $14,000

The regulation and the signalling pathway of placental corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor/s in human pregnancy$14,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor John Fitter, Professor Roger Smith
Scheme Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 1998
Funding Finish 1998
GNo G0177268
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

19961 grants / $244,500

South-East Asian Australian Preterm Labour Study Group.$244,500

Funding body: Department of Education, Training & Youth Affairs

Funding body Department of Education, Training & Youth Affairs
Project Team Emeritus Professor William Walters, Professor Roger Smith, Conjoint Professor Warwick Giles, Conjoint Associate Professor Andrew Bisits, Doctor Cheng Chan, Dr Stephen O'Callaghan, Doctor Jenny Stewart Williams, Mrs Maria Bowman, Doctor John Fitter
Scheme Targetted Institutional Links Program
Role Investigator
Funding Start 1996
Funding Finish 1996
GNo G0176589
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed3
Current1

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD0.1

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2009 PhD Epigenetic Regulation of the CRH Gene in Pregnancy
General Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2005 Honours The role of CRH in development and plasticity oin the amphibian Lymnodynastes peronii
Biol Sc Not Elsewhere Classifd, University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2002 Honours The role of corticotropin releasing hormone and its receptor in the metamorphosis of Australian anurans
Biol Sc Not Elsewhere Classifd, University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
1997 Honours Regulation of Corticotropin Releasing Hormone in Human Placental Cells
Biol Sc Not Elsewhere Classifd, University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor
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Dr John Fitter

Position

Laboratory and Research Manager
Mothers & Babies Research Centre
School of Medicine and Public Health
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Contact Details

Email john.fitter@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 40420361
Fax (02) 40420045

Office

Room HMRI 3406
Building Hunter Medical Research Institute
Location John Hunter Hospital campus

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