Personal Chair of Microbial Genetics
What makes you interested in your work?
The incredible diversity of bacteria, the amazing ways they have evolved to evade and manipulate human defences to cause disease.
At what point did you begin to see yourself as a scientist?
I just about see myself as a scientist, I was 53 a few days ago…
How did you end up in your line of work?
I love biology, and microbiology offers the capacity to study millions of ‘individuals’ in a test tube and literally see evolution in action as they change to overcome the challenges thrown at them. I had a chance to do a PhD on how bacteria grow their cell walls after my microbiology degree and have not really looked back….
What was your first ever job?
Painting the rusty girders in a massive factory, horrid. Followed by a postman, great…
What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome to reach your position?
There is a lot of self-doubt and failure with projects. You have to take positives from all the knocks and move it forward.
What is the most important skill to have in science?
Integrity (not really a skill but still important) and resilience.
Dream dinner party guests? What do you make?
My best friends (sorry), I still have so much more to learn from them. I would throw in Jon Hopkins [fellow Roslin Institute researcher] for some live music.
[On the menu] Roasted cauliflower and nut sauce Korma.