Emeritus Professor John Kerr AO

Emeritus Professor John Kerr is a noted pathologist known internationally for uncovering the ultrastructural features of apoptosis.

Born in Sydney in 1934, Professor Kerr completed his undergraduate studies and medical degree at UQ before travelling to the UK to complete a PhD at the University of London. In 1965 he returned to UQ to teach pathology. It was here that he distinguished natural cell death from traumatic cell death (necrosis). In 1972 Professor Kerr produced a landmark paper with Alastair R. Currie and Andrew Wyllie which named the process of natural cell death “apoptosis”.

In 1996 he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia. He became a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1998, and received a Doctor of Science honoris causa from UQ the same year. In 2000, Professor Kerr was awarded the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize – the second most prestigious European science award (behind the Nobel Prize).

Professor Kerr is sometimes referred to as the “father of apoptosis” in recognition of his monumental contribution to the understanding of physiological cell death.


Doctor of Science honoris causa


Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery