My research career has focused on the study of macromolecular structures using both experimental and molecular modelling methods. The biological structures I have studied include long chain sugars, the cornea, proteins and modified DNAs. Modification of such structures alter the ability of the macromolecule to interact with other molecules and can be related to disease states.
I have had a traditional academic career combining both research and teaching with leadership roles at Birkbeck and University of London. Subsequently I became Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. In 2007 I became Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kent and in 2015 President of Universities UK. I married in 1972 after finishing my undergraduate studies. We have two children and have combined family life with both of us having careers in science. Our daughter is now in the civil service and our son is a doctor. We have two grandchildren.