John Aitken

Professor Aitken, who arrived from the University of Edinburgh to take up a Chair in Biological Sciences at the University of Newcastle in 1999, is now a leader of a 50-strong research team studying fertility and contraception, which has attracted almost $50 million in funding.

During the last 40 years, Professor Aitken has been working to uncover the intricacies of the union between sperm and egg he has published over 480 research articles, given more than 350 invited lectures, and filed 12 patents. His work has been cited >16,000 times (h-index of 70), the highest citation index in his field.

Since arriving in Newcastle he has generated more than $37 million in research income and has been continuously funded by both the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). He has been elected a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Australian Academy of Science and is currently President of the International Society of Andrology.

The world-renowned reproductive biologist has worked and studied at some of the world's most prestigious research institutes including Cambridge and the World Health Organisation, but says there is no place he would rather be than Newcastle.