The University of Newcastle, Australia

UON’s Professor John Aitken Wins Prestigious Reproductive Science Award

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Laureate Professor John Aitken from the University of Newcastle has been announced as the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Carl G. Hartman award, which recognises a researcher’s outstanding career and scholarly activities in the field of reproductive biology.

The Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) is the world’s largest Society representing reproductive biology. The prize is the SSR’s highest award and, in the past, has been awarded to some of the biggest names in the field of reproductive science.

“I felt surprised, delighted and unworthy in the same instant,” Professor Aitken said of receiving the news.

The Carl G. Hartman award has been bestowed for 47 years and, during that time, has previously only been given to one scientist working outside of North America.

“That occasion was last year in 2015, when the award was presented to another Australian, Professor Roger Valentine Short FRS from the University of Melbourne,” Professor Aitken said.

By happy coincidence, Professor Short was Professor Aitken’s PhD supervisor at the University of Cambridge in the early 1970’s.

“The list of previous winners reads like a who’s–who of our field, including giants like Ryuzo Yanagimachi, John Eppig, and Michael Griswold who I have looked up to for as long as I can remember. It is humbling and exhilarating in equal measure to be considered in the company of such pioneers.”

Professor Aitken joined the University of Newcastle in the late 90s, and is now a leader of a 50-strong research team studying fertility and contraception, which has attracted almost $50 million in funding.

“The support I have received since arriving at the University of Newcastle has been instrumental in allowing our group to be so productive,” he said.

He has been recognised on numerous occasions for his ground-breaking work in the field of reproductive biology, however, he says there is no greater reward for a scientist than to continue to win the approbation of his peers.

“Prizes such as the Carl G Hartman award tell us that our research centres and the University in which they are embedded are, in reality, first class institutions that can hold their own with the best in the world.

“We have a group of extremely talented, passionate young researchers in our Centre who will face the future with renewed confidence knowing that the research program of which they are such an integral part, has been rated so highly.”

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