SYNOPSIS OF CAREER / RESEARCH INTERESTS
PhD at the University of WA (UWA) in 1981, then worked for two years at the INRA Station de Physiologie de la Reproduction at Nouzilly (France) and for three years at the Medical Research Council’s Reproductive Biology Unit in Edinburgh (UK). In 1986, returned to Australia to take up a joint position at the University of WA and CSIRO. In 1994, transferred fully to the University and, in 2001, reached the level of Professor (Chair).
More than 300 refereed papers, describing research that covers basic and applied science, mostly on reproductive physiology in sheep, with a strong focus on how environmental factors influence the reproductive system, particularly the brain mechanisms that are involved. Long-term goal is to use this research to develop clean, green and ethical systems of animal production. Also led projects on ratites (emu, ostrich) and game birds, with a strong emphasis on reproductive biology and reproductive technology, and smaller projects on rats, dogs and marsupials (most targeting new approaches to contraception), and on the management of reproduction in endangered African mammals (African Painted Dog, Pygmy Hippopotamus, White Rhinoceros).
Collaborated with many institutions, locally, nationally and internationally, including: the Institut Nationale de la Recherche Agronomique (France), the Roslin Institute (United Kingdom), the Royal Veterinary College (London), Universidad Nacional Autónomo de México, the Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay, The University of Yamaguchi (Japan), The University of Oxford, and The University of Bristol.
1978 (published 1980): First description of the effect of pheromones on the brain signal that controls reproduction (GnRH/LH pulse frequency) in sheep (eg, DOI: 10.1016/0301-6226(86)90031-X; >230 citations since 1986), culminating in the role of brain neurogenesis (DOI: 10.1095/biolreprod.108.075341).
1980-2017: detailed description of the acute effects of nutrition on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, including the roles of intracerebral insulin and leptin (DOIs: 10.1677/joe.0.1650625 and 10.1677/joe.0.1470321), and culminating in the roles of small RNAs in testis function (reviewed in DOI: 10.1530/REP-17-0061).
2004: Integration of worldwide scientific findings on environmental influences in reproduction into the holistic concept of ‘clean, green and ethical’ (CGE) management, a vision for applying the science of reproductive biology to animal management: DOI 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2004.05.014 (>100 citations).
2009 to present: extension of CGE management to human food security, embodied in “UWA Future Farm 2050” (http://www.ioa.uwa.edu.au/future-farm-2050), a project that was subsequently extended world-wide (as published in Nature, DOI: 10.1038/507032a).
VALUE OF SRF MEMBERSHIP
As a young PhD student in the 1970s based in Australia, the SRF (or SSF as it was then) was nevertheless my international link to the world of reproductive biology. I enjoyed my local society (the Australian Society for Reproductive Biology; ASRB, now SRB) but the SSF, and the Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, broadened my horizons and led me to aspire to scientific adventures outside Australia. The consequences were life-changing postdoctoral adventures in France and the UK. I still cherish my scientific and personal experiences in Tours and Edinburgh. In hindsight, the ASRB nurtured me as a scientific child and the SSF (SRF) matured me into a scientist in the field of reproductive biology.