UNIVERSITY of Newcastle Laureate Professor John Aitken has been named NSW Scientist of the Year.
The award, announced last night at the 2012 NSW Science and Engineering awards, recognises Professor Aitken's world-class work in reproductive biology.
"Each year the reproductive needs of some 120 million couples worldwide go unmet," Professor Aitken said last night.
"I believe that finding more effective ways to control fertility is a critical global issue while, at an individual level, we should never forget the large number of couples seeking safe, effective solutions to their infertility."
Professor Aitken, from the Faculty of Science and IT, has identified oxidative stress (cells being attacked by "free radicals") as a major cause of male infertility - a finding that has resulted in new methods of therapeutic intervention.
Fellow University of Newcastle Laureate Professor Paul Foster, from the Faculty of Health, won the Excellence in Biological Sciences (Human and Animal Health) category at the awards.