John Stuart Loutit was born in Adelaide in 1925. He was educated at Adelaide Boys High School and Adelaide University. He majored in microbiology and chemistry for his BSc, which he gained in 1945. From 1946 until 1952 he was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide, then from 1953-55 a temporary Lecturer at Queensland University. During this time he studied for his PhD on Pseudomonas mutations, and was awarded this degree by the University of Adelaide in 1955. In 1956 he took up an appointment as Lecturer in microbiology at the University of Otago, and later became Senior Lecturer (1959), Associate Professor (1967) and Professor in 1978 (Chairman of the Department 1977-83).
In 1962 he took up a James Hudson Brown Fellowship at Yale University. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Otago from 1974 until 1976 and also served on the Council of the Otago Polytechnic (1981-87). John’s research interests during his career as a teacher of microbiology have had a heavy emphasis on the genetics of Pseudomonas auriginosa. He produced the first auxotrophic mutants and the first published report of genetic recombination in this species. He was elected an Honorary Member of NZMS in 1988.