Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Sakkie Pretorius present Distinguished Professor Ian Paulsen, Photo: Chris Stacey
Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Sakkie Pretorius present Distinguished Professor Ian Paulsen, Photo: Chris Stacey

Distinguished Professor Ian Paulsen

The Distinguished Professor award is the highest academic honour Macquarie can bestow on a member of our academic community, recognising professors who have made an outstanding contribution to their field of scholarship or discipline and to the University.

Professor Paulsen is a world leading scientist renowned for his work in microbial genomics, multidrug efflux pumps, lateral gene transfer, systems biology, bioinformatics and environmental microbiology. The quality of his work has been recognised by his inclusion in “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014” report prepared by Thomson Reuters, one of only five Macquarie Researchers and a small number of Australian researchers to be so recognised.

Professor Paulsen arrived at Macquarie in 2007 and has built a remarkably strong research group from a single postdoctoral research fellow to seven postdoctoral researchers and thirteen HDR students across a number of disciplines. Indeed, one of his strengths is collaboration, building relationships across the Medical and Physical Sciences. The Biomolecular Frontiers Research Centre, of which he is Deputy Director, has attracted significant funding from the ARC and has helped concentrate research focus on what is now known as the “omics” technologies. Professor Paulsen has a talent for concentrating research excellence that can be seen in his establishment of the successful Macquarie Flow Cytometry Facility, and in his central role leading the future development of Macquarie’s new Synthetic Biology Laboratory.

Professor Paulsen’s contributions have had prominent impact. He led the way in microbial multidrug efflux pump research, effectively founding the field. To this highly cited research, which has written an important chapter into our understanding of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, can be added his pivotal role in using genome sequencing to establish the importance that gene swapping across species has to microbial genome evolution. Metagenomics was another pioneering field which revealed unforeseen environmental biodiversity at the genetic level which had not previously been possible to detect through traditional genome sequencing methods. Not surprisingly, his publication record is outstanding; with an h-index of 83, his publications have received 32,000 citations.

His impact can also be measured by the strong funding he has attracted to support his research at Macquarie University; $11.7m in domestic funding and $1.3m from international sources. He has served in an editorial capacity across a large number of well-respected journals.  He has a strong voice in popular scientific channels and maintains a high online profile, helping to make his discoveries accessible to the general public. Awards and fellowships have come from the very start of his career, beginning with the Ernest Fields Memorial Scholarship as a postgraduate and later including a Life Sciences Research Award from the NSW Government, and a Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council.

Professor Paulsen is one of the bright research stars of Macquarie University and without doubt deserving of a place among our Distinguished Professors.

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