Personal profile


Iain studied for his first degree in Biochemistry at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where he stayed on to complete a PhD in microbial physiology, supervised by Dr Norman Shaw. Subsequent post-doctoral research notably included working with Professor Roy Russell and a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship in Taxonomy (both in the Department of Oral Biology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne).

He was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland from 1996-2003 before moving to Northumbria, where he was promoted to Reader (2005), then Professor of Microbiology in 2007. From 2012 to 2019 he was the Research Lead for the Department of Applied Sciences, and from 2019 to 2021 he was REF Lead for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

Research interests

My research focuses on understanding the bacterial cell envelope as the interface between a bacterium and its environment, with a specific focus on the nature, biosynthesis and roles of membrane-anchored macromolecules, notably bacterial lipoproteins and lipoglycans. Several projects are focussed on understanding the role of the cell envelope in the biology of the important veterinary pathogen Rhodococcus (Prescottella) equi and related bacteria.

Understanding cell envelope diversity is also of importance for microbial taxonomy and studies of bacterial evolution, and I am particularly interested in the evolution of outer membranes. My work in taxonomy has progressed from an earlier chemotaxonomic approach to primarily using comparative genomics and in this regard I am active in developing the discipline of microbial systematics. I am currently in my second term (2020-2023) as Chair of the International Committee for Systematics of Prokaryotes ( Seperately, I am actively involved in the development of the nomenclatural code for uncultured microorganisms (the 'SeqCode'

Education/Academic qualification

Biochemistry, PhD

1 Sept 198531 Dec 2099

Award Date: 1 Sept 1985


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