David for blogScience is a creative and social activity, very different from the stereotype of a scientist as a lone ‘boffin’ in a white coat and glasses who never has fun in the lab.

David 2013


Age 80, born in Kinver, Staffordshire in 1933.

David’s father was an income tax inspector and his mother was a teacher. He has one sister.

They lived near a farm where they would volunteer to help, learning many farm skills. Along with this experience, David was inspired to work in science by a short film seen in the local cinema about the life of an agricultural advisor.

From Lymm Grammar school, David got a scholarship to Cambridge where he did a degree and a PhD in microbial genetics. ”When I was in my final year at Cambridge, genetics was at a very exciting stage. That was when the double helical structure of DNA was published by Watson and Crick”.

David recalled, “At a symposium in New York I met Giuseppe Sermonti, who worked on the same microbe as me. He invited me to work with him in Rome. I set off in my car taking my mutant cultures with me. It was an amazing time, Rome in 1960, the time of Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita”.

David lectured in botany and genetics. He was professor of genetics at UEA and head of genetics at the John Innes Centre and was knighted for services to genetics in 1994. He is now emeritus.

He is married to Joyce H. They met in Scotland when she was studying mouse genetics.

They have three children and six grandchildren.


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