Dean of Applied Sciences
Working with a small research team and through collaboration with groups in the UK and abroad, Michael is interested in the atypical metabolism and evolutionary cell biology of parasitic and free-living protists. Ongoing projects include (i) characterisation of the unique way in which trypanosomatids (and their nearest relatives) add heme to their mitochondrial cytochromes c and (ii) metabolic flexibility in the alga Euglena gracilis – a distant relative to the parasitic trypanosomatids.
Michael graduated from the University of Liverpool in 1993 with a first class Honours degree in Biochemistry. He remained in Liverpool to complete his PhD, using classical biochemistry and analytical chemistry approaches to study lipid biosynthesis in pathogenic Leishmania and Trypanosoma parasites. The PhD was supervised by Drs John Goad and Michael Chance. A Wain Fellowship taken to the Universitat de Barcelona next saw Michael learn something of the molecular biology of lipid biosynthesis in plants before a return to Liverpool and post-doctoral research with Professor George Wolff. Here, the project involved application of analytical methods to address how seasonal deposition of organic matter helps support dynamic, diverse communities of large, sediment-feeding invertebrates in the deep-sea.
Following the brief, but enjoyable, foray into deep-sea biology, Michael resumed his interest in parasites taking successive post-doctoral positions in the Universities of Glasgow (with Professor David Barry), Manchester, and Oxford (with Professor Keith Gull CBE FRS) to study the molecular and cellular biology of trypanosomes. Whilst in Oxford, Michael was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to study protist metabolism and cell biology and also held a non-stipendary lectureship with Brasenose College. He moved to Lancaster University in July 2007, stepping from his Royal Society Fellowship in 2011 as a senior lecturer, before promotion to Reader (2012) and finally Head of Division for Biomedical and Life Sciences (2015). Michael joined the University of Huddersfield as Professor of Biochemistry and Head of Department for Biological Sciences in April 2016.