ASPS Life Member
University of Newcastle, NSW
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John Patrick graduated from Sydney University in 1966 with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Agricultural Science. Thereafter, under the supervision of Fred Milthorpe, he completed a PhD in plant physiology at Macquarie University. Postdoctoral experience in plant development (1970 – 1972) was gained through joining Phillip Wareing’s research group (University College of Wales). In 1973 John returned to Australia to take up a lectureship in the newly established Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Newcastle where he has remained throughout his career. Since retirement (2007), he has continued to pursue an active research program, and particularly so with his long-term collaborator, Christina (Tina) Offler.
John is recognised for his theoretical and experimental advances in the regulation of nutrient transport and partitioning in plants. He has developed a novel theoretical framework that identifies control points for the regulation of nutrient transport in, and unloading from, plant vascular networks. His experimental approaches have shown how metabolic demand for nutrients is coordinated with vascular transport by phytohormones, cell hydrostatic pressure and nutrient pool sizes. These discoveries have laid a conceptual framework to further elucidate nutrient transport and partitioning mechanisms and to identify novel targets for improving crop yield. His ‘retirement’ research with Tina Offler focuses on discovering mechanisms regulating assembly of the intricate wall labyrinth in transfer cells that determines the extraordinary capacity of these specialized cells for nutrient transport.