Graduated from Auckland University with a double major in chemistry in 1967 and subsequently obtained MSc and PhD degrees in Cell Biology exploring the role of hormones in the regulation of plant growth. Pursued postdoctoral research in developmental biology at Purdue University and as a staff scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research in London.
Returned to New Zealand in 1976 as the second Wellington Medical Research Foundation Malaghan Research Fellow and established a research programme on blood cell development at Wellington Hospital and at Victoria University. Founding scientist with the Wellington Cancer and Medical Research Institute, later renamed the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and is currently a Group Leader and Deputy Director of the Malaghan Institute, a Research Professor at Victoria University, and a past James Cook Research Fellow. Present Councillor and Past President of the NZ Association of Scientists and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Royal Society Vice President's Biological and Life Sciences Advisory Panel.
Current research interests include stem cell origins of cancer, immune targeting of cancer cells, combining immunotherapy with cancer drugs, cancer cell energy metabolism, intercellular mitochondrial transfer via membrane nanotubes, drug development in cancer and inflammatory disease.