Much of Sharon’s long career has been dedicated to the service of patients and public health through her long-term commitment to the NHS and global health. Sharon is currently Professor of Public Health and Microbiology in the Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, and a world authority on the use of pathogen genomics to provide actionable information to improve health. She is also a leading expert on antibiotic resistance, and a range of infectious diseases. A career spanning nursing, medicine, and non-executive director in a major NHS Foundation Trust has provided an unusual combination of first-hand ‘ward-to-board’ experience.
Sharon’s contribution has been recognised by numerous prizes and awards. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and an elected Member of EMBO. She was awarded a CBE for services to medical microbiology in 2015 and won the Unilever Colworth Prize for outstanding contribution to translational microbiology in 2018. She has published more than 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers and 21 book chapters, as well as raising more than £60 million GB pounds in academic research funding.
So, what’s next? Having developed one of the most successful SARS-CoV-2 sequencing operations in the world, there is still much to do. With public health agencies taking up this role to provide a vital legacy, Sharon is now turning her attention to global training in SARS-CoV-2 sequencing, as well as how to drive forward the use of sequencing technologies to detect and contain antibiotic resistance. With a history degree already behind her, she is also keen to piece together the story of public health microbiology in England over the last 50 years as a lens through which to view pandemic preparedness. And never far away is the desire to encourage others to access education and to find solutions to the barriers to access that continue to exist today.