At Exeter College, Oxford I took a BA in Botany and then went on to do my D.Phil. on "The Ultrastructure of Cells with Thickened Primary Walls", working with Dr Barrie Juniper. This looked at how collenchyma cells manage to grow and extend while having hugely thickened walls. Subsequently I worked for a postdoctoral year at Oxford on applications of megavolt electron microscopy to plant cells.
During my time at at Oxford I was Secretary of Amnesty International, Secretary, Editor and Chairman of the Oxford University Cave Club and Business Manager and Editor for the Oxford University Exploration Club.
I then joined Professor Bernard Tinker's team at Leeds working on the ultrastructure and physiology of mycorrhizas - symbioses between plant roots and fungi which are vital to the plant's ability to extract phosphate from the soil. During this period I lived in Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale and did a lot of caving in the Yorkshire Dales. I was also a local organiser for the Liberal Party.
In 1975 my life took a major new direction when I moved to Australia to join the Electron Microscope Unit at the University of Sydney. It was obviously the right move since I've been in the Unit ever since.
During this time I have taken several sabbaticals (Special Studies Programmes) at Oxford University, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Phuket Marine Biological Station, Thailand and most recently at the Gulbenkian Institute for Science, Portugal
I formally retired in May 2005 and since then have held an honorary position, initially in the Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis and more recently, following a restructure of the Centre, in the School of Medical Sciences, Discipline of Anatomy & Histology.