Professor Jim Whelan
Jim obtained his BSc (1986) and PhD (1990) 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 Australia 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 Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology in 2005.
Jim has 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.
Jim has made outstanding contributions to research and research training. Many of his PhD students have gone on to receive a number of prestigious international fellowships including Human Frontiers, EMBO and von Humboldt awards to carry out further studies.
Professor Whelan is actively involved in a number of international research projects and is co-director of a Joint Research Laboratory in Nutriomics and Genomics at Zhejiang University, in Hangzhou, China. He holds a Pao Yu-Kong Chair Professor at the College of Life Sciences in Zhejiang University. He is currently involved in a number of research projects with collaborators in China that are funded by both the Australian and Chinese governments.
He also has active collaboration with researchers in Europe, Munich, Strasbourg, Stockholm and Umea, and in 2008 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University for his continuing contributions to research and education. He has been awarded a number of prestigious international fellowships and prizes; OECD Fellowship (1989), Werner-Gren Fellowship (1993 and 1996), the Peter Goldacre Medal by the Australian Society of Plant Scientists (1998), Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (2001), and in 2010 the American Society of Plant Biology listed Jim as one of a handful of Australian Plant Scientists that were recognized to be most highly cited and influential authors.
Current Research Interests:
Professor Whelan's primary area of research is in plant energy metabolism, i.e. how plant convert energy from sunlight into chemical energy, and how this energy is used to facilitate growth; defend against various stresses that plants encounter; and generate the products that provide food and shelter for both humans and animals.