I was born in Cambridge, and lived in Liverpool, Washington DC and Istanbul before returning to the UK to read for my BSc in Microbiology at the University of Leicester, where I was also awarded my PhD in Immunology in 1996 on the role of CD4 T cell recirculation and adhesion patterns in chronic inflammatory disease. I continued along the theme of T cell adhesion molecules during my first postdoctoral position 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.