Prof John Shine

Lab Head - Neuronal Stem Cells

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Professor of Medicine and Professor of Molecular Biology, UNSW Sydney

John Shine was Garvan'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 develop 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, Cal Bio 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 on joining the Garvan.

Research Interests

Stem cells
Neuropeptide Y
Gene structure
Gene regulation
Nervous system
Parkinson's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Neurodegenerative diseases

Awards and Honours

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


1972 - BSc (Hons) 1st Class, Australian National University
1975 - PhD, Australian National University
2006 - DSc (Honoris causa), University of New South Wales - Australia

Selected Publications

Mallawaarachchi AC, Hort Y, Cowley MJ, McCabe MJ, Minoche A, Dinger ME, Shine J, Furlong TJ. Whole-genome sequencing overcomes pseudogene homology to diagnose autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Eur J Hum Genet. 2016; May 11. [Epub ahead of print]

Cunha C, Hort Y, Shine J, Doyle KL. Morphological and behavioural changes occur following the X-ray irradiation of the adult mouse olfactory neuroepithelium. BMC Neuroscience 2012; 13:134-147.

Doyle KL, Hort Y, Shine J, Herzog H. Neuropeptide Y and Peptide YY have distinct roles in adult olfactory neurogenesis. J Neurosci Res 2012; 90:1126-1135.

Doyle KL, Karl T, Hort Y, Duffy L, Shine J, Herzog H. Y1 receptors are critical for the proliferation of adult mouse precursor cells in the olfactory neuroepithelium. J Neurochem 2008; 105:641-652.

Doyle KL, Kazda A, Hort Y, McKay S, Oleskevich S. Differentiation of adult mouse olfactory precursor cells into hair cells in vitro. Stem Cells 2007; 25:621-627.

Howell OW, Doyle K, Goodman JH, Scharfman HE, Herzog H, Pringle A, Beck-Sickinger AG, Gray WP. Neuropeptide Y stimulates neuronal precursor proliferation in the post-natal and adult dentate gyrus. J Neurochem 2005; 93:560-570.

Herzog H, Hort YJ, Ball HJ, Hayes G, Shine J, Selbie LA. Cloned human neuropeptide Y receptor couples to two different second messenger systems. P Natl Acad Sci, USA 1992; 89:5794-5798.

Evans HF, Shine J. Human galanin: molecular cloning reveals a unique structure. Endocrinology 1991; 129:1682-1684.

Greene GL, Gilna P, Waterfield M, Baker A, Hort Y, Shine J. Sequence and expression of human estrogen receptor complementary DNA.  Science 1986; 231: 1150-1154

Shine J, Fettes I, Lan NC, Roberts JL, Baxter JD. Expression of cloned b-endorphin gene sequences by E. coli. Nature 1980; 285: 456-461

Seeburg PH, Shine J, Martial JA, Ivarie RD, Morris JA, Ullrich A, Baxter JD, Goodman HM. Synthesis of growth hormone by bacteria. Nature 1978; 276: 795-798

Shine J, Seeburg PH, Martial JA, Baxter JD, Goodman HM. Construction and analysis of recombinant DNA for human chorionic somatomammotropin. Nature 1977; 270: 494-499

Ullrich A, Shine J, Chirgwin J, Pictet R, Tischer E, Rutter WJ, Goodman HM. Rat insulin genes: construction of plasmids containing the coding sequences. Science 1977; 196: 1313-1319

Shine J, Dalgarno L. Determinant of cistron specificity in bacterial ribosomes.  Nature 1975; 254  34-38

Shine J, Dalgarno L. The 3'-terminal sequence of Escherichia coli 16S ribosomal RNA: complementarity to nonsense triplets and ribosome binding sites. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1974; 71: 1342-1346

Dalgarno L, Shine J. Conserved terminal sequence in 18S rRNA may represent terminator anticodons.Nature New Biology 1973; 245: 261-262

Prof John Shine