I completed a PhD at the University of Liverpool with Professor Rob Beynon where I studied the sweetest substance known which, surprisingly, is a protein called thaumatin. Protein research then brought me to Geosciences at the University of Glasgow where, as a NERC PDRA, I investigated proteins in brachiopod shells. As a Royal Society University Research Fellow I collaborated with Sir Alwyn Williams for many years, establishing my enthusiasm for modern and fossil biominerals. As well as research and teaching commitments at the University of Glasgow I held several leadership roles including Associate Dean for the Faculty of Physical Sciences Graduate School, International Lead for the College of Science & Engineering and Head of School of Geographical & Earth Sciences. I am a mentor for four early career scientists, a member of the peer review Colleges of EPSRC and NERC and external examiner for an MSci Geoscience degree at the University of Durham. On 1 March 2017 I joined the University of Stirling as Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. In April 2017, I took up the post of Vice President (Physical Sciences) of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. From 13th April -13th August, I had a two part exhibition entitled ‘Shell meets Bone’ with artist Rachel Duckhouse (http://www.rachelduckhouse.co.uk/) at the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow as part of my Leverhulme collaboration with Rachel Duckhouse. (http://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/visit/exhibitions/exhibitionprogramme/shellmeetsbone/). An article about the exhibition appeared in the Lancet Vol 390 July 1 2017, p. 19. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31671-9/fulltext
In 2008 I was awarded the Saltire Society's Scottish Science Award, in 2011 I was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and I am the 2017 recipient of the Schlumberger Medal from the Mineralogical Society.