Emeritus Professor John Nolan

Appointment Citation

Professor John Vivian Nolan’s association with UNE spans over 50 years, having enrolled in the Bachelor of Rural Science course in 1962 graduating with Honours in 1965 and moving on to complete his PhD in 1972. Building on his outstanding PhD research on nitrogen metabolism in ruminants, he progressed as a Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, Lecturer and Associate Professor at UNE and served 10 years as Professor of Animal Nutrition. Throughout his career he has been recognised as a world leader in nitrogen and protein metabolism of ruminant livestock. Since his retirement in 2011, he has maintained an active role in research and postgraduate student supervision as an Adjunct. John has also played a key role in training over 50 PhD and Masters students while excelling in his teaching of biochemistry and nutritional science to undergraduate students.

Through 300 publications (more than 150 refereed), John developed an international reputation in ruminant and poultry nutrition with contributions in a nitrogen metabolism, tracer methodologies, and feeding behaviour. His PhD studies under Prof R.A. Leng (AO) pioneered the use of isotopic tracers in livestock research, initially through use of 15N to study nitrogen kinetics and recycling in ruminants, but expanding with use of 13C /14C and 35S for energetic and microbial studies. This led to John developing the computing procedures to model isotope dilution data which provide a core capability and specialization for the nutrition research team at UNE, and led to international roles with IAEA and FAO programs using isotopes in animal research. While ruminant nutrition,
especially nitrogen metabolism has been John’s central expertise he also made major contributions at the interface of nutrition and animal behaviour, forming partnerships with Justin Lynch, Illius Kyriazakis and Fred Provenza to study diet preference, nutritional wisdom and feed aversion. As a member of the UNE poultry group he also studied nutritional regulation of egg shell quality.

Apart from nutritional research and his role in undergraduate teaching, John has been a key organizer of the biennial Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition in Australia conference, developed to present UNE research to the Australian feed and nutrition industry and build UNE’s national profile. He also served UNE over many yeas as a tutor, Senior Resident Fellow and Acting Master at Earle Page College.