Professor Emeritus Alfred James Pittard, AM

Alfred-James-PittardBallarat Grammar 1944 – 1949, Captain of School 1949

  • PhD (Yale University)
  • DSc, Hon MD (University of Melbourne)
  • Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science
  • Professor Emeritus, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne

Awarded a Fullbright Scholarship in 1960, he studied at the University of California, Berkeley. A year later, his PhD supervisor moved to Yale University, and he followed.

He returned to Australia in 1964 and spent the remainder of his career at the University of Melbourne, Department of Microbiology.

Jim was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1974. The honour was given “for service to science, particularly microbiology and molecular biology through research into the control of gene expression in bacteria, and to education as a teacher and administrator.” His speciality is control of gene expression during transcription or translation. He has received numerous awards, including the Lemberg Medal from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (1991), recognising his scientific work and his contribution to the scientific community.

In April, 2001, Jim’s brilliant career in science was featured in Boomalacka, Issue 83. At that time, he wrote to the School, “It has been an exciting time to be a biologist and the future promises many more wonderful discoveries.”

In 2012, the School instituted a new award, the Professor Jim Pittard Award for Exceptional Academic Endeavour. This prestigious award recognises students who have pursued studies in their field to the highest level and who have achieved exceptional outcomes. Jim presented the inaugural Award at Presentation Night last December to Sam Backwell (2011) and Siobhan Tobin (2012).