I was born in Cambridge, and spent my early years in Liverpool, Washington DC, Istanbul and Ankara before returning to the UK in 1987 to read for my BSc in Biological Sciences (Microbiology major) at the University of Leicester, where I was also awarded my PhD in Immunology on the role of CD4 T cell recirculation and adhesion mechanisms in chronic inflammatory disease. I continued along the theme of CD4 T cell activation/inflammation during my first postdoctoral position in 1996 at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital London, before moving back to the University of Leicester to start work on a Wellcome Trust funded project investigating host immune responses to pneumococcal infection. I have stayed focused on the pneumococcus ever since. I was promoted to Lecturer in Respiratory Infection in 2005, then Reader in 2009 at the University of Leicester. I returned to Liverpool as Professor of Bacterial Pathogenesis in 2011 at the newly established Institute of Infection & Global Health, where I head the Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunity group.