Anne has a BSc in Biochemistry from Edinburgh and a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from Cambridge, UK. She pursued a research career at Aberdeen University where she studied the diversity and function of microbes in soil, the development of sensors to detect environmental pollution and how we respond to stress, which has particular relevance to how we age. She is currently a Special Advisor to the Principal at the University of Strathclyde and the President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Anne was the first Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission (2012-2015) and was the first Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland (2006-2011). She has been awarded many honorary degrees both nationally and internationally.
She became a Woman of Outstanding Achievement in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) in 2008 and has worked hard to support women in SET. In 2009, she was awarded a CBE by the Queen in recognition of her services to environmental sciences and in 2015, she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to science in the UK and Europe.