An Interview with Bryan Grenfell
“Understanding the waxing and waning of infectious diseases.”
How did you get to where you are now?
“I was a zoologist, but terrible at laboratory work and fieldwork, but then discovered theory. I did my undergraduate degree at Imperial and my PhD at York University. I got a job as a lecturer at Sheffield, and then moved to Cambridge and stayed there for 15 years. I moved to the USA and was at Penn State for 5 years, and I have now been at Princeton for 5 years.”
What is your proudest work-related moment to date?
“Definitely the people I’ve trained. As an example, I recently met a student who I taught whilst I was at Cambridge, and he said he is now in the job that he does because of a few lectures that I gave about infectious disease and R0.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“There isn’t anything I can think of really, I have always enjoyed the jobs that I have done.”
If you had left academia in a parallel universe, what job would you be doing instead?
“I think I might have been a lawyer.”
Where is the best place you have ever travelled for work?
“This is difficult. Probably to Beijing, because it was amazing to see the sights of the country and it made me really appreciate the rise of China. Also work in S. India on filariasis”
What’s your favourite parasite?
“Though I work on viruses, it is probably Schistosomiasis.”
If you had to be infected with a parasite what would you pick?
“Definitely a tapeworm.”
What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind be?
“Welsh cuisine – although that wouldn’t take very long!”
What’s your favourite type of cheese?
“Laver bread-flavoured camembert.”
If your office/lab caught on fire, what would be the thing that you saved?
“Well, everything is on Dropbox these days……so probably my research team.”
To find about more about Bryan Grenfell’s research at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, have a look at his website: http://www.princeton.edu/eeb/people/display_person.xml?netid=grenfell