Having graduated from Nottingham with a BSc in Physics in 1971, I took a year out (working as a milkman, foundry worker, teacher of English and busker) before embarking on an MSc in Chemical Physics at Surrey.
My PhD in Crystallography was completed at Surrey in early 1975 and before taking an appointment as Lecturer in Physics at Keele University in April 1986 (transferred to Life Sciences in 1999), I worked as a Research Fellow in Chemistry at Warwick and UBC Vancouver, in Physics at Keele, in Cancer Research in Birmingham Alabama, and as a support scientist at the Daresbury synchrotron radiation source (SRS).
The research at Keele included the design, construction and commissioning of the world's first dedicated Synchrotron radiation protein crystallography station at the SRS, and more recently, as part of a small UK team, development of the Laue crystallographic method for proteins and viruses. Involvement with the development of the SRS, including extended periods of part-secondment, continued until its closure in 2008. I now lead the Midlands UK Structural Biology consortium at the new UK SR source at Diamond.
Research and scholarship
My current research interests are in the structure and function of biological macromolecules with a particular emphasis on molecular structure, recognition and effector mechanisms in the innate immune system. This ancient arm of the immune system is somewhat less fashionable than the much more recently evolved adaptive, immunoglobulin-based response.
Nevertheless, its importance as a defence mechanism preserved throughout evolution is beginning to receive the attention it deserves as its roles in the recognition and clearance of foreign, and self, pathogens and its links with the antibody response become clearer. Two of the major families of innate immune proteins are the pentraxins, including C-reactive protein, and the collectins, including lung surfactant protein D. Current research is focused on various members of these two protein families from creatures as diverse as man and the horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus. I am part of the Structural Biology Research Group.
- LSC-10034 Nature’s Tools: Proteins and Enzymes
- LSC-20015 Molecular, Cellular & Structural Immunology
- LSC-30016 Structural Biology & Macromolecular Function (Module manager)
- LSC-30007 Biology dissertation
- LSC-30008/35 Biochemistry Experimental Research project
- LSC-30014 Biochemistry Research project (Non-experimental)
- LSC-30015 Biology of Disease
- LSC-30023 Neuroscience Dissertation