Pioneering biochemist and molecular biologist Professor John Shine AC PresAA has commenced today as President of the Australian Academy of Science.
Professor Shine becomes the 19th President of the Academy. The founding President was Sir Marcus Oliphant AC KBE FAA FRS FTSE, elected in 1954.
“It’s a great honour to be elected as President of a very prestigious organisation,” Professor Shine told ABC Radio National when his Presidency was first announced.
“It’s also a daunting task to help coordinate the Australian scientific effort, to advise government on sensible scientific policies and to be a source for government, policy makers, the community and business of unbiased, clear scientific facts,” Professor Shine said.
“The outcomes from basic research being translated into something of real value for the community are often long time frames, and those times frames are much longer than the political cycle. So often our political leaders require sudden instant answers to big, important questions and these take a long time.
“We need to develop a good consistent dialogue where there is mutual respect between all parties. We need to make sure we communicate science and the developments happening in science to the broader community because our political leaders follow what the broader community is telling them. If we have strong base community support then that will translate into the political response science needs,” Professor Shine said.
Outgoing President, Professor Andrew Holmes AC FRS FTSE FAA welcomed Professor Shine as he handed over the Presidency.
“As with all roles of this nature, I conclude my presidency with some unfinished business. Our work to improve engagement with our political leaders and the Fellowship will never be done,” Professor Holmes said.
Professor Shine became world-renowned for a series of discoveries he made between 1975 and 1985 that furthered our understanding of genes. He cloned the first human hormone genes, and in the process developed sophisticated gene cloning techniques that helped transform the world of biotechnology.
In his earlier roles in the US biotechnology industry and as Chairman of CSL for the past six years, Professor Shine has a long-standing commitment to the translation of research discoveries into advances in health care for the social and economic benefit of the community.
Professor Shine was elected to the Academy in 1994. The Academy’s home, previously known as Becker House, was named the Shine Dome in 2000 in recognition of a $1 million donation made by Professor Shine to help restore the building, one of the most iconic and distinctive in Australia.
Professor Shine was also Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research from 1990 to 2012. He still runs his own lab at the institute, investigating the gene mutations responsible for inherited kidney disorders.
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