I was born in Stow, Ohio USA, received a BA in Biology summa cum laude from Oberlin College in 1990, and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1996 studying retroviral pathogen/host interactions in a cat model. I performed post-doctoral research on apoptosis and cancer at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute in the lab of Prof Gerard Evan FRS, then led a research team at Leadd BV, a start-up biotech company in the Netherlands, discovering novel drug targets for cancer. After a research career break, I won a Wellcome Trust Career-Entry Fellowship at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at UCL, gaining expertise in high-throughput RNA interference screening to study the role of actin and the cytoskeleton in cell shape and movement. When this was completed, I moved to my current post in 2012, where I oversee a basic sciences lab studying the host/pathogen interactions of chronic urinary tract infection in a clinical context. I became a naturalized British citizen in 2011.