I was awarded my PhD in the Department of Bacteriology, University of Bristol in 1980, and spent two years in the same department as a Post Doctoral research assistant. I moved to Glasgow in 1981 as a Lecturer in Microbiology, and am now Professor of Systematic Bacteriology and working part-time. I am an expert on the classification and identification of members of the genus Bacillus and relatives, a group of spore-forming bacteria that includes agents of food spoilage and food poisoning, the agent of anthrax, insect pathogens, and sources of industrial enzymes. I am the Chairman of the International Committee on the Systematics of Prokaryotes Subcommittee on the Taxonomy of the Genus Bacillus and Related Organisms, a member of the International Committee on the Systematics of Prokaryotes, and a member of that committee’s Judicial Commission on Prokaryote Nomenclature. I have travelled extensively, with working visits to Antarctica, Bangladesh, Brazil, Iceland, Kuwait, USA and various European and Scandinavian countries. I write for several medical microbiology and systematic bacteriology reference books, including Topley and Wilson’s Microbiology and Microbial Infections, the ASM Manual of Clinical Microbiology and Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, have edited specialist microbiology texts, and have been on the editorial boards of several British microbiology journals. I am a Fellow of the Society of Biology and member of the Society for General Microbiology and the Society for Applied Microbiology.