Page Actions



From ISOGG Wiki

I was an undergraduate at the University of East Anglia (Norwich) from 1965-1968, where I obtained a 1st Class Honours degree in chemistry. From 1968-1971 I was at the same University, gaining a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry. In 1971 I joined the European Research Centre of Eli Lilly & Co., initially as a research chemist.

In 1974 I was appointed Head of the Organic Chemistry Group of about 28 scientists and then had a series of positions in management including spells with process development chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and toxicology. In 1980 I was a human volunteer in the very first administration of a pharmaceutical product manufactured by recombinant DNA technology – human insulin. I was also involved in the introduction of Good Laboratory Practice to Lilly in the UK. In 1985 I returned to research and worked up to 1992 on research programmes on osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which included dosing animals and histopathology. From 1992 to 1994 I worked in regulatory affairs, making submissions to regulatory agencies across Europe for the extension of the dosage forms for human insulin, human growth hormone and Fluoxetine (Prozac).

In 1994 I was made redundant from Lilly and then worked in a number of positions including contract regulatory affairs work for R. P. Scherer [now Cardinal Health] at Swindon, compiling CD-ROMs for legislative documentation for the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries for an American-based company, IHS [Information Handling Systems], and working for a Swiss-based company called SGS [Société Génerale de Surveillance] who performed pre-shipment inspection of goods leaving Britain and Ireland for export to a wide range of third world countries – from Argentina to Burkina Faso. I learnt a huge amount about import-export, shipping and invoice documentation, and the valuation of goods for customs duty purposes.

In 2002 I obtained a position within regulatory affairs for the CRO [Contract Research Organisation] PRA International, based at Reading in the UK. There I was involved in the submission of a major marketing application across Europe [then 17 countries] followed by ever-increasing responsibilities in clinical trial submissions across a seemingly ever-expanding range of countries. This role eventually extended right across Europe [including Russia and the Ukraine], Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, with some liaison into South America; everywhere, in fact, except the USA, Canada and Mexico. The clients were both US and European pharmaceutical and medical device companies and covered every type of company from Pacific Coast start-up biotech companies to the mainstream pharmaceutical companies. This work truly tested your abilities to communicate globally across time zones, cultures, languages and manage client expectations. The work was subjected to regular audits to ensure compliance with Good Clinical Practice and involved inspections both by auditing teams from the clients and from the regulatory agencies themselves. I retired from full time work in December 2011 but retain a consultancy job title and have been a member of the main regulatory affairs organisation in the UK – TOPRA – since 1994. Currently I am writing two articles for their magazine, The Regulatory Rapporteur, on Personalized Medicine and its possible legislative control.

I still retain an appreciable interest in several areas of drug discovery and development including osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, the biology of aging, DNA transcription factors, DNA sequencing technology, asthma, Alzheimer's disease, connective tissue diseases in general, the role and potential disease consequences stemming from the body's use of oxygen and the mitochondrial electron transport chain and bio-inorganic chemistry / biological redox systems.

In family history terms I began research in January 1967 as a 19 year-old, when the whole area just began to switch in the UK from a gentlemen’s hobby to going mainstream. I was always too busy with work and a family of two boys to take much active part in the various organisations building and running family history in the UK. But I was lucky to be in at the birth of the West Surrey Family History Society in 1972, the Norfolk Family History Society in 1969 and the Dyfed Family History Society in Wales in 1980 and I have been a member of the Society of Genealogists since 1972 and of the Guild of One-Name Studies since 2009. In August 2000 I was involved with one of the very first ever uses of DNA in family history research, which looked at 5 markers on the Y-chromosome across two Swann families in the USA, one in Virginia and one in Maryland in the 1635/1654 time period.

I joined ISOGG in December 2006 and was asked to be the ISOGG Regional Co-ordinator for England and Wales in July 2007. In September 2008 I was fortunate enough to persuade Family Tree DNA to sponsor the DNA Area at Who Do You Think You Are?, Live at London, Olympia. This is the largest gathering of people interested in family history in the world, and regularly attracts 13,500 to 15,000 visitors through its doors over the three days of the Event and this involvement has continued to this date. I have presented regularly on DNA and family history during this time and will next be speaking at a two hour event to be hosted at the National Archives in early May 2013. As well as working to popularize the use of DNA methodology to work in parallel with conventional documentary family history research, I am keen to promote citizen science involvement with British academic institutions and for ISOGG to be seen as at the very forefront of such endeavours, within Europe in particular, but to promote global co-operation and to harness in a truly effective way the online power and intellectual skill of the world-wide genetic genealogy community.