Biography

Professor Peter Rathjen has been the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Tasmania since March 2011.  

During this period, he has been instrumental in positioning the University as a driver of socio-economic prosperity in Tasmania, including through the creation of vibrant new University precincts and facilities within the CBDs of Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

Professor Rathjen studied as an undergraduate in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Adelaide. As a 1985 Rhodes Scholar, he undertook a DPhil at Oxford University, studying mobile genetic elements in yeast and mammals.  

As a biochemist, Professor Rathjen specialised in embryonic stem cell research. With his wife, Dr Joy Rathjen, he established an internationally recognised research programme into stem cell biology and stem cell therapies.  Professor Rathjen was a founding member of the Australian Research Council Special Research Centre for the Molecular Genetics of Development and the Australian Stem Cell Centre.  

Professor Rathjen is a non-executive director of the Board of Universities Australia. He is on the Board of the Australian Science Media Centre and is a patron of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science Tall Poppy Campaign.

Prior to taking up this position in March 2011, Professor Rathjen was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Melbourne, where he also held the position of Dean of Science from 2006. Before joining the University of Melbourne, he was Executive Dean, Faculty of Sciences, at the University of Adelaide.

Current board positions
  • Universities Australia Non-Executive Board Member, the lead Vice-Chancellor Academic, (2017 - )
  • Australian Science Media Centre Board (2007 – 2011 and 2017 - )
  • University of Tasmania Foundation Director, (2011 – )
  • LH Martin Institute Council, (2013 - ),
  • Australian Institute for Policy and Science Board, (2009 - )
  • Oxford-Australia Scholarships Committee, (2007 - )
  • Australian Institute of Policy and Science: Patron of the Tall Poppies Campaign, (2005 - )
  • Tasmania University Cricket Club Patron (2016 - )
Previous board and committee positions
  • Florey Neurosciences Institute Board
  • Florey Prize for Medical Research Committee
  • International Education Association of Australia Board, (2012 – 2015)
  • The Victorian Institute for Chemical Sciences Limited
  • The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research Board
  • Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia (2003-2006); Finance committee (2004-2006): Gardens 150 Program to renew infrastructure
  • Botany Foundation, University of Melbourne (2006 - 2008)
  • Victorian College of Optometry Board ( 2006 - 2008)
  • Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne (2006 - 2008)
  • In2Science (2006 - 2008)
  • Patron of the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria
  • Meat and Livestock Association Advisory Board
  • External Member, Hanson Centre for Cancer Research
Scientific Advisory Committees
  • Chairman, Bresatec/BresaGen International Scientific Advisory Board (1992-1999)
Publications: Scholarly Book Chapters
  1. Chalmers, D., Rathjen, P., Rathjen, J. and Nicol, D. (In press; Jan 5, 2017). Ethics and Governance of Stem Cell Banks. Crook, J. M. and Ludwig, T. (eds.), Stem Cell Banking: Concepts and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1590, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-6921-0_7, (Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017)
  2. Rathjen J. and Rathjen, PD. (2012). ES cells. Maloy, S. and Hughes, K. (eds) Brenner’s Online Encyclopedia of Genetics.
  3. Rathjen, J. and Rathjen, P. D. (2004). Embryonic stem cells; isolation and application of pluripotent cells from the pre-gastrulation mammalian embryo. Sell. S. (ed) Stem Cell Handbook, Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey, 33-44.
  4. Morris, M., Rathjen, J., Keough, R. and Rathjen, P. D. (2003). Mouse embryonic stem cells. Odorico, J. (ed). Human Embryonic Stem cells. BIOS Scientific Publishers, Oxon UK, 1-15.
  5. Keough, R., Rathjen, J. and Rathjen, P.D. (2003). Properties and therapeutic potential of stem cells. Kenneally,  J. and Jones, M (eds). Aust. Anaesthesia. Ed., 201-212.