I have made a career of combining my twin passions of bioluminescence (think glow worms and fireflies) and infectious diseases. I studied medical microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, UK and did a Ph.D. in microbiology at CEH Oxford (formally the Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology) and Napier University, Edinburgh. I then spent my postdoctoral years at Imperial College London, developing bioluminescent derivatives of various infectious organisms. My work on Citrobacter rodentium culminated in winning the inaugural 3Rs prize from the UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) in 2006.
In 2007 I was appointed as a Lecturer within the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunity at Imperial and began to work on Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. In 2009 I was awarded the Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and relocated to Auckland, maintaining an honorary position at Imperial. I was recently awarded the NZ National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee's 3Rs award for 2011. My area of expertise is biophotonic imaging, while my research interests lie in investigating microbial transmission and hyperinfectivity.
I am completely in awe of the natural world and the power of the scientific method to aid our understanding of it. Unfortunately, people often have the impression that science is irrelevant, boring or too hard to understand and that scientists are geeky and aloof. I believe scientists have a responsibility to dispel these myths and act as advocates, both for science in general, as well as their field of interest. For these reasons, you will find me writing about miscellaneous science and skeptical stories at Infectious Thoughts on Sciblogs, the biggest blog network of scientists in New Zealand. I can also be found ranting about pseudoscience on the Completely Unnecessary Skeptical Podcast (CUSP).