Scientist (academic and industrial) and author
My career path has been really varied, showing that scientific expertise can find multiple outlets and opportunities. I left university where I was studying veterinary medicine and became a forensic scientist. After working for my degree part-time I studied full time for a PhD before beginning a career in industry. I am a Visiting Professor at Imperial College, where I used to be an academic. When I left academia I worked for 13 years in the drug discovery industry and now work for myself. I train people all over the world on how to create wide impact from basic research. I also consult for universities on how to commercialise their research and give my time to two of the UK’s leading Research Councils. I have written three popular science books.
I specialise in the new frontiers in biological science, especially in relation to the human genome and our ever-evolving view of how this operates. It’s great to be able to communicate to students about how much we still don’t really understand and why science continues to be so exciting. I also really enjoy sharing my experiences of being a professional scientist and the number of unexpected opportunities this has created for me.
Because of my popular science books I have carried out a lot of public engagement work. This includes giving a large number of talks at schools but these are almost always private. I grew up in council housing and went to state schools, and really want to help in any way I can to ensure that the students from the same background as me get access to the same level of inspiration as their privately educated counter-parts.
Portfolio Chair & Entrepreneur
Head, School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, University of Hull
Head of the Department of Economics, University of Birmingham
Peer & Former Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
Journalist, BBC News