BiographyI originally trained as an academic microbiologist in South Africa, doing a MSc on the structure of a !-RNA virus (Nudaurelia β virus) of the pine emperor moth. From 1976-1979 I did a DPhil at Oxford on aspects of the replication of the baculovirus of the African army worm. These degrees were interspersed with undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at Rhodes University, the University of Zimbabwe and the University of Cape Town. I worked as a clinical virologist at the Institute of Virology in Johannesburg from 1981 to 1984, working primarily on the replication and diagnostic tests for Rift Valley fever virus. I then did the undergraduate medical degree at the University of the Wiwatersrand, graduating in 1988. One year of my post graduate training was spent as a medical officer at the Tuberculosis and Infectious Diseases Hospital in Johannesburg. I did my specialist training in medical microbiology at the London hospital, obtaining the FRCPath in 1994.
As a consultant, I was a senior lecturer/honorary consultant at the University of Manchester/Manchester Royal Infirmary from 1994-1998, and then director of medical microbiology in Coventry and the Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology network from 1998-2010, and then worked at the Public Health England laboratory at Heart of England Trust, Birmingham, UK, to 2014. Since then I have usually been working as a locum consultant microbiologist.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Laboratory and clinical medical microbiology and undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in this subject.
Research over the years has been done on insect viruses, the haemorrhagic fever virus, RVFV, I have used biofilm systems to study the growth of organisms such as Streptococcus pneumoniae in biofilm, with the discovery that the organism lost its capsule during biofilm growth. This was shown to be due to a previously unknown method of gene expression in this organism.
In addition to a broad appreciation of the diversity of microbiology, I am very interested in the history of the discovery of RNA splicing, and the way that certain viruses use splicing in their replication strategies.