Prior to joining the Centre for Cancer Research, Professor St. John was the Head of the Centre for Genetic Diseases at Hudson Institute, after having been recruited from the University of Warwick in the UK where he held the position of Professor of Reproductive Biology.
After completing his degree in Physiology at the University of Sheffield in 1995, Prof St. John completed his PhD entitled ‘The role of mitochondria in male fertility’ at the University of Birmingham. In 2000, Prof St. John was appointed as a lecturer in Mitochondrial and Reproductive Genetics at the University of Birmingham. Along with running his research program, he provided undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and supervision and was the divisional coordinator for graduate studies.
From March 2000 until January 2001, Prof St. John undertook a Sabbatical as a Mellon Fellow at Professor Gerald Schatten’s laboratory at Oregon National Primate Research Center in the USA. Prof St John was also awarded an Endeavour Fellowship in 2007 to undertake research work at Monash Institute of Medical Research (now Hudson Institute). This allowed him to familiarise himself with the Institute and its research and establish some of his program in Australia.
Prof St. John has numerous publications in international journals, including The Lancet, Nature Chemical Biology, Nature Cell Biology, Nucleic Acids Research, Cell Death & Differentiation, Stem Cells, Development, Journal of Cell Science and Genetics. Prof St. John also reviews submissions for a number of journals and grant-awarding bodies and is Reviews Editor for Molecular Human Reproduction. In the UK, he advised Government, Parliament and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on policy related to stem cells and reproduction. He also advised the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority on stem cells and embryo policy, and reviewed licence applications. In 2013, he received the Society for Reproductive Biology’s Award for Excellence in Reproductive Biology.
The overall aim of Prof St. John’s research is to understand how the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes interact during development in order that cells, tissues and organs function efficiently. He is applying this knowledge to develop reproductive strategies for women that suffer from repeated failed fertilisation outcome or embryo developmental arrest; and enhanced genetics for animal breeding purposes. He also focuses on the role of mitochondrial DNA in tumour formation.
Prof St. John’s current research focuses on developing and using stem cell, tumour-initiating cell and large animal models to define key mitochondrial DNA replication events during development and how they influence reproductive and developmental outcomes; and how mitochondrial DNA copy number can be modulated to prevent tumours from forming.
Further information about Prof St John can be accessed here.