John Bertram was appointed Head of the Department of Anatomy (now Anatomy and Developmental Biology) at Monash University in 1998. He built the department into one of the strongest centres for developmental biology research in Australia and introduced Australia’s first BSc major in developmental biology. His research focuses on kidney development and the adult health consequences of suboptimal kidney development, specifically chronic kidney disease and hypertension. His group has conducted the most comprehensive study to date on human nephron (glomerular) number and size and associations with birth weight, race, gender, age, adult body weight, hypertension and renal pathology. In animal studies he has described the effects of a range of perturbations to the feto-maternal environment (including low protein diet, high fat diet, glucocorticoid exposure, maternal diabetes, maternal alcohol) on kidney development and adult health. He has published more than 250 original papers, review articles and book chapters.