Year of Honorary Fellowship, 2013
Steve Simpson is the inaugural Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre and Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. The Charles Perkins Centre is a major initiative aimed at easing the burden of chronic disease through innovative, multidisciplinary research and education.
After graduating as an entomologist from the University of Queensland, Steve undertook his PhD under the supervision of Reg Chapman and Liz Bernays at the University of London, then spent 22 years at Oxford, initially in Experimental Psychology and then Zoology. From 1998-2004 he was Professor of the Hope Entomological Collections at the Department of Zoology and Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Steve returned to Australia in 2005 as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, then ARC Laureate Fellow, before taking on his present role at the Charles Perkins Centre in 2012.
Steve and David Raubenheimer have developed an integrative modelling framework for nutrition (the Geometric Framework), which was devised and tested using insects and has since been applied to a wide range of organisms, from slime moulds to humans, and problems, from aquaculture and conservation biology to the dietary causes of human obesity and ageing. He has also pioneered understanding of swarming in locusts, with research spanning neurochemical events within the brains of individual locusts to continental-scale mass migration.
In 2007 Steve was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, in 2012 he was awarded the Wigglesworth Medal of the RES, in 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and in 2015 was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.
Steve is also Executive Director of Obesity Australia and has been prominent in the media, including presenting a four-part documentary series for ABC TV, “Great Southern Land”. He has authored two books with David Raubenheimer on their nutritional research, The Nature of Nutrition (2012, Princeton University Press) and Eat Like the Animals (2020, published by William Collins in the UK), and served as Editor with Angela Douglas for the major 2014 revision of R.F. Chapman’s The Insects, Structure and Function. He served as Editor (then co-editor with Jerome Casas) of Advances in Insect Physiology from 2003-2013.