Roger Short
Wexler Professorial Fellow, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Adjunct Professor, Zoology, Royal Women's Hospital
Reproduction in mammals, fertility and infertility, AIDS and HIV
Research Group
Reproduction & Development
Room Deans Ganglion, Faculty of Medicine
Tel +61 3 83443370
Fax +61 3 83447909

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I held a Personal Chair in Reproductive Biology at Monash University from 1982-1995 and in 1996 was appointed Wexler Professorial Fellow at the Royal Women’s Hospital. I was foundation Director of the Medical Research Council’s Unit of Reproductive Biology in Edinburgh, Scotland from 1972-1982, and prior to that was a member of the scientific staff of the Agricultural Research Council’s Unit of Reproductive Physiology and Biochemistry in Cambridge, England from 1956-1972. I was also a Reader in Reproductive Biology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Magdalene College. In 2001 I spent 2 1/2 months as Regent's Professor at the University of California, and have been appointed Andrew White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University from 2001-2007. I am a visiting Fellow of Green College, Oxford University, and has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Concept Foundation in Bangkok.

I was the co-editor, with Professor C.R. Austin, and the main contributor to a series of Cambridge University Press textbooks entitled, “Reproduction in Mammals”. The first 8 volumes published between 1972 and 1980 were translated into German, Russian, Spanish, Polish, Arabic and Japanese. A completely rewritten and expanded Second Edition of 5 volumes was published between 1982 and 1986 and is still in print. One of my hobbies is the History of Science, with particular relevance to reproductive biology. I have made a film of William Harvey’s classical study “De Generatione Animalium” (1652), and another one on John Hunter’s experiments on antler growth in deer.

I have published over 300 scientific papers in a wide variety of scientific journals, and have just written a book with Dr Malcolm Potts called, "Ever Since Adam and Eve: the Evolution of Human Sexuality”. It was published by Cambridge University Press in February 1999. It has been widely acclaimed, has already been reprinted, and is being translated into Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean and Japanese.

I served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Family Health International (FHI) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina from 1983-1990, and retired from the Board in 1997. FHI is one of the world’s largest non-governmental, not-for-profit organisations dedicated to the provision of family planning services for developing countries. In 1989 I was a consultant to the Global Programme on AIDS of the World Health Organisation in Geneva designing strategies for the integration of HIV prevention and family planning programmes. At Monash University I pioneered an innovative school sex education campaign which is now being copied around the world and is being trialled in Beijing and Shanghai. From 1996-2000 I was on the Population Panel of the Wellcome Trust. 

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One of my major research interests has been the evolution of human reproduction and the way it can shed new light on the causes of the current human population explosion. I have been actively involved in contraceptive research and development for the past 2 decades.

My other research interests include sex determination and sex differentiation, the contraceptive effects of breastfeeding, male germ cell transplantation, and the development of chemosterilants for the control of feral rats, mice and foxes. Our recent paper on the elephant, showing that it is an aquatic mammal that has relatively recently come out onto dry land has excited much interest. I also have a project in Dubai with colleagues from the University of Cambridge, and we succeeded in crossing a camel with a llama. I am currently working on ways to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV infection in men and women. I hold US and EEC patents for the use of melatonin to control jet lag and space travel, which have been licensed to Eli Lilly via the Melbourne company Circadian Technologies. Melatonin was used by the astronauts on the MIR space station, and is now recommended by NASA for all its astronauts. 

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Students & Postdocs

Graduate students
Scott McCoombe; Zhen Zhang; Mingjia Ling (RWH)

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3rd & 5th Year Medical students
Bachelor of Biomedical Science Stream 5: Reproductive and Developmental Biology

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Short, R.V. (1997) The testis: the witness of the mating system, the site of mutation and the engine of desire. Acta Paediatr. Suppl. 422:3-7.

Short, R.V. (1998) Difference between a testis and an ovary. J. Exp. Zool. 281:359-361.

Skidmore, J.A., Billah, M., Binns, M., Short, R.V. and Allen, W.R. (1999) Hybridizing Old and New World camelids: Camelus dromedarius x Lama guanicoe. Proc. Roy Soc Lond B 22:1-8.

Clift, A. and Short, R.V. (1999) Medical education for the doctors of tomorrow. Lancet 354: Suppl. p.34.

Gaeth A., Short, R.V. and Renfree, M.B. (1999) The developing renal, reproductive and respiratory systems of the African elephant suggest an aquatic ancestry. PNAS 96 (10):5555-5558.

Szabo, R. and Short, R.V. (2000) How does male circumcision protect against HIV infection? Brit. Med. J. 320:1592-1594.

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Further Publications: PubMed Search

Last modified: 12 August 2009