Skip to main content
John Shine

Professor John Shine

Emeritus Fellow
Molecular Genetics of Inherited Kidney Disorders Lab

Professor John Shine AC FRS FAA was the Garvan Institute of Medical Research's Executive Director from 1990-2011. His name is known to most undergraduate biology students for his role in defining the Shine-Dalgarno gene sequence, which is responsible for the initiation and termination of protein-synthesis.

John has a number of other significant scientific ‘firsts’ under his belt. He was a central figure in the cloning of the insulin and growth hormone genes; was the first to clone a human hormone gene; was responsible for cloning of an endorphin gene and was the first to demonstrate that hormone genes cloned in bacteria could be expressed in a biologically active form. He also determined the first sequence responsible for replication of a cancer-causing virus.

John’s scientific career took off following a move, in 1975, to San Francisco. It was there that he cloned numerous genes as well as developed the techniques to do this – he is a sole inventor on a patent for using phosphatase to direct the joining of DNA molecules.

A three-year appointment at California Biotechnology (CalBio) Inc company saw John guide it from a staff of some 15 scientists in 1984 to over 200 in 1987. During this period, CalBio developed several important new therapeutics including treatments for congestive heart failure, infant respiratory distress syndrome, and burns and general wound healing agents. At the same time, John developed an interest in the generation of functional diversity in the nervous system, a research area he established upon joining Garvan, with the DNA cloning of neuropeptide receptor subtypes.


  • 2017Companion - General Division of the Order of Australia
  • 2010Prime Ministers Prize for Science
  • 1996Officer - General Division of the Order of Australia
  • 1994Fellow - Australian Academy of Science
  • 1982Gottschalk Medal - Australian Academy of Science
  • 1980Boehringer-Mannheim Medal - Australian Biochemical Society

Selected publications

See all publications