Prof. John Rostas
|Work Phone||(02) 4921 5615|
|Fax||(02) 4921 5669|
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
The University of Newcastle, Australia
|Office||LS3-40 and BB2-04, Life Sciences And Bowman|
I have a distinguished research record in the study of molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in many experimental systems, particularly in studies of brain development and maturation. I have always maintained a multidisciplinary approach in my research and active collaborations with colleagues in different disciplines both in Australia and overseas. I have an international reputation in two main areas:
1. I am an internationally recognised authority on the role and regulation of the important regulatory enzyme CaMKII, as evidenced by my invitation to be a keynote speaker on this topic in an international symposium at the joint meeting of the International and European Societies for Neurochemistry in Innsbruck, Austria (August, 2005).
2. I am internationally recognised for developing the maturing chicken forebrain as an animal model for the slow maturation of brain observed in humans and for using biochemical, electrophysiological, anatomical and behavioural techniques in chickens to investigate the fundamental biological changes that occur during maturation of the brain. Evidence for my recognition is an invitation to be a major speaker, and to chair a session, at the forthcoming Brain Mechanisms, Cognition and Behaviour in Birds Satellite Conference to the IBRO (International Brain Research Organisation) World Congress of Neuroscience (July 2007). I am also an invited Editor for the special issue of Brain Research Bulletin that will publish papers from this conference.
When comparing my scientific research track record against those of others, it must be noted that I have always performed my research while holding full academic roles that required major educational and administrative input. The extent of my activities in education and curriculum development is reflected by two peer reviewed publications in the area and invitations to speak at international conferences on problem based learning. In the last 10 years I have continuously held senior academic administrative responsibilities (Assistant and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Executive Director of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, Deputy Head of Faculty of Health) and been appointed to State and Commonwealth government advisory panels and chairmanships, including 9 years on the NHMRC Project Grants Committee.
Despite these responsibilities I have continued to publish 3-5 papers per year in high quality, international peer reviewed journals (~50% of papers appeared in journals with an impact factor above 4.8 and 70% above 3). In all, I have published more than 95 papers in high ranking international journals. The fact that much of my research has been performed in chickens accounts for the lower citation rate compared with similar work performed in mammals. My research papers have had a consistent citation rate of 70-90 per year for the last decade.
I have received multiple invitations to speak at international and national conferences including the inaugural Lawrie Austin Plenary Lecture at the 2002 meeting of the Australian Neuroscience Society.
- PhD, Monash University
- Bachelor of Science (Honours), Monash University
- cell biology
I have a distinguished research record in the study of molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in many experimental systems, particularly in studies of brain development and maturation. I have always maintained a multidisciplinary approach to research and active collaborations with colleagues in different disciplines both in Australia and overseas. My research expertise is focussed in two areas:
1. I am an internationally recognised authority on the role and regulation of the important regulatory enzyme CaMKII. In this field work from my laboratory was the first to show :
- That developmental changes in subcellular distribution of CaMKII occur independently of the developmental change in expression level of the enzyme and that the subcellular translocation is indirectly regulated by thyroid hormone
- The existence of giant mossy fibre nerve terminals in the chicken hippocampus and of LTP and LTD at these synapses, and to show that CaMKII activation is required for presynaptic LTD at these synapses.
- That CaMKII regulation in vivo cannot be explained by currently known mechanisms and that there is a new class of regulatory mechanism operating in vivo. This new class of control mechanisms apparently occur only a specific functionally important locations in neurons (e.g. at the PSD in association with certain receptors) and require interaction with specific local proteins. If this is true, these proteins will provide highly selective drug targets through which the activity of CaMKII could be altered at specific locations in the neuron without altering CaMKII activity elsewhere in neurons or in other cells. This could lead to neuro/psycho-active drugs with fewer side-effects. These activation of these new control mechanisms could also be used as biomarkers of disease or neuropathology.
2. I am internationally recognised for developing the maturing chicken forebrain as an animal model for the slow maturation of brain observed in humans. Work from my laboratory has demonstrated the protracted maturation of neuronal function in chicken brain using biochemical, electrophysiological and anatomical techniques and identified some fundamental changes in biological mechanisms during maturation. The chicken model for brain maturation may provide opportunities to identify the major biological factors controlling the maturation process and to test a variety of drugs or other interventions on the normal progress of this maturation. This is of relevance to a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Fields of Research
|110199||Medical Biochemistry And Metabolomics Not Elsewhere Classified||40|
|170299||Cognitive Science Not Elsewhere Classified||20|
Centres and Groups
- PRC - Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health (CTNMH)
- Hunter Medical Research Institute
- PRC - Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information-Based Medicine
- member since 1995 - Neurochemical Research (scientific journal)
- Deputy Chair of Project Grants Committee (2003-2006); Chair of Objections Subcommittee (2001-2006); - NHMRC Project Grants Committee (1997-2006); Objections Subcommittee (2000-2006); Chair of Molecular Neuroscience GRP 2006
- Chair of Grant Review Panel 2006 - GRP Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Ministerial Advisory Committee on Medical and Health Research
NSW Government (Australia)
|01/01/2003 - 01/08/2006|
Council of the International Society for Neurochemistry and Chair of its Committee for Aid for Neurochemistry
International Society for Neurochemistry (United Kingdom)
|01/09/1991 - 01/09/1995|
Lawrie Austin Plenary Lecture
Australian Neuroscience Society, Australia (Conference Presentation - non published.)
Keynote speaker and Symposium Co-Chair
International Society for Neurochemistry, Austria (Conference Presentation - non published.)
SELECTED SENIOR ADMINISTRATIVE APPOINTMENTS (since 1992)
2006 - Deputy Head of Faculty (Research), and Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle - responsible for coordinating research and research training across the Faculty at all campuses
1999 - 2006 Founding Executive Director, Hunter Medical Research Institute and Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle - established the scientific organisation and governance foundations of HMRI, its recognition by the NSW Government as the third largest medical research institute in the state, and its infrastructure funding by NSW government on an equal footing with Sydney institutes.
1997 - 2001 Assistant Dean (Research), Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Newcastle
Chairmanship or Sole Responsibility
2001 - 2006 Chair, Complaints Subcommittee of NH&MRC Projects Grants Committee
2003 - 2006 Deputy Chair, NH&MRC Project Grants Committee
2003 - 2004 Chair, BioFirst High Bandwidth Network Implementation Committee, NSW Government
2002 - 2003 Chair, BioFirst High Bandwidth Network Committee, NSW Government
1997 - 2001 Assistant Dean (Research) and Chair of the Faculty Research Management Committee, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Newcastle
1996 - 1997 Chair, Local Organising Committee for 17th Annual Conference of the Australian Neuroscience Society
1992 - 1995 Chair, International Society for Neurochemistry Committee for Aid for Neurochemistry
1984 - 1995 Editor and member of Council Executive for Australian Neuroscience Society
2006 - Deputy Chair, Research Training Committee of The University of Newcastle
1997 - 2006 Project Grants Committee, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
2003 - 2006 Ministerial Advisory Committee on Medical and Health Research, NSW Government
2001 - 2006 Ministerial Advisory Committee on Biotechnology, NSW Government
2001 - 2006 BioFirst Awards Committee, NSW Government
1999 - 2004 Research and Development Advisory Committee, NSW Department of Health
1998 - 2006 Council of Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry
2003 - 2005 Cancer Research Advisory Board, Cancer Institute of NSW
1991 - 1995 Council of the International Society for Neurochemistry
1999 - 2004 Reference Group for Medical Research, Australian Business
- cell biology
Supervised 14 postgraduate research students and 7 postdoctoral research fellows.
Developed and taught integrated, problem based curricula for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Biomedical Science. Developed training programs for research planning and research grant preparation for postgraduate research students and university and hospital staff. Invited to speak on curriculum design and evaluation at major international centres in Europe and North America. Peer reviewed publications on problem based curriculum design:
Rostas, J.A.P. and Olson,L.G. (1997). Teaching basic sciences in an integrated curriculum: making it work. In: Imperatives in Medical Education: The Newcastle Approach. Eds. R. Henry, K. Byrne and C. Engel. University of Newcastle, Australia, pp 83-94.
Rostas, J.A.P. and Rolfe, I. (1997). Training working problem tutors for medical students. In: Imperatives in Medical Education: The Newcastle Approach, Eds. R. Henry, K. Byrne and C. Engel. University of Newcastle, Australia, pp 189-199.
External Examiner for University of Papua New Guinea Medical School (1996), Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (1989-1994), and PhD theses for Sydney, Melbourne, Monash, New England and RMIT Universities.