Winthrop Professor Jim Whelan

The University of Western Australia
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Winthrop Professor Jim Whelan obtained his BSc and PhD degrees from University College Dublin. He spent 5 years at the Australian National University before being appointed as a lecturer at the University of Western Australian in 1995. He has been actively involved in teaching and research and was appointed Chair of Biochemistry in 2004, which he held until he became Interim Director of the Centre for Plant Energy Biology in 2005. He has been awarded a number of prestigious international fellowships: OECD Fellowship (1989) Werner-Gren Fellowship (1993 and 1996) Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (2001). He has also been awarded the Peter Goldacre Medal by the Australian Society of Plant Scientists (1998) and has been appointed to the ARC College of Experts in 2007. Winthrop Professor Jim Whelan has made outstanding contributions in the field of plant mitochondrial biogenesis. His primary research interest is the targeting of proteins to mitochondria, and the mechanisms to avoid mis-sorting to chloroplasts. These studies have uncovered several novel aspects of protein targeting in plants and overall give insights into the evolution of eukaryotic cells as a whole (JBC, 2000, 2005; JMB, 2004, 2005; Plant J, 2002). Notably, his research was the first to provide experimental evidence for reasons limiting gene transfer between organelle and the nucleus (PNAS, 2002; Plant J, 2002), and also how functional gene transfer occurs (Nature, 2000; Plant Cell, 2002; Plant Physiology, 2005). His research on organelle biogenesis also examines gene regulation (Plant Physiology 2001, 2003, 2004) defining the switches that control gene expression for organelle proteins by combining morphological, biochemical, genetic and genomic approaches to understand organelle function and biogenesis. The Professor has also been actively involved in education throughout his career. He has received several grants to carry out community-based programs. He has been involved in curriculum development for Agriculture, Medical and Science students and played a leading role in establishing a vibrant degree program in Genetics at UWA, taking a leadership role in establishing the cross-faculty Genetics Honours program. Currently he is a member of the graduate research school that oversees all PhD awards at UWA and is actively involved in establishing international links to facilitate the internationalization of graduate research at UWA. He is currently chief investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence Plant Energy Biology.

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Contact Information

Street Address:
School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences The University of Western Australia (M310) 35 Stirling Highway CRAWLEY WA 6009 Australia
Ph: (+61 8) 6488 1749