John Douglas "Jack" Pettigrew (born 2 October 1943 in Wagga Wagga) is Emeritus Professor of Physiology and Director of the Vision, Touch and Hearing Research Centre at the University of Queensland in Australia.
Professor Pettigrew's research interest is in comparative neuroscience. He has studied a variety of different birds and mammals with modern neural tracing techniques to unravel principles of brain organization. He was the chief proponent of the Flying primates theory, which was based on the similarity between the brains of megabats and primates. Special emphasis is placed on the visual, auditory and somatosensory systems.
Professor Pettigrew was the first person to clarify the neurobiological basis of stereopsis when he described neurones sensitive to binocular disparity. His recent studies indicate a role for non-visual pathways in the phenomenon of developmental plasticity during the postnatal "critical period". He discovered that owls have independently evolved a system of binocular neurones like those found in mammals. Recent work uses binocular rivalry as an assay for interhemispheric switching, whose rhythm is altered in bipolar disorder. His scientific work was recognized by several honours and awards, including becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS) and fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAAS), and the Centenary Medal in 2001 for service to Australian society and science in phylogeny.
In the 1960s and 70s, Pettigrew was an accomplished rock climber. His most notable climb came in 1965 when together with Bryden Allen, John Davis, and David Witham he was the first to climb Ball's Pyramid, with 562 m (1,844 ft) the tallest volcanic stack in the world.
- Who's Who in Australia 2013, Crown Content, 2012.
- Emeritus Prof Jack Pettigrew
- PETTIGREW, John Douglas, It's an Honour, 2001.
- Donald E Mitchell, The Man from Ironbark: a profile of Professor Jack Pettigrew FRS, flamboyant sensory systems researcher and recipient of the H Barry Collin Research Medal, Clinical and Experimental Optometry 94, pp. 494–501 (2011)