After I left university, I worked at Imperial College, London, on my invention the Droplet Reactor, a very early microfluidic device that I patented in the early 1980s. I applied a variant of this system to protein crystallization, and I worked with Professor David Blow – one of the well-known early crystallographers who worked with Max Perutz and others – to develop IMPAX, the first “robot” that was specifically designed for protein crystallization. In 1987, another Imperial scientist and I set up Douglas Instruments Ltd, and the company has made systems for automatic crystallization ever since. Altogether my papers on protein crystallization and other topics have been cited over 1,300 times.
In 2011 I made a bet with a colleague in India that I could find biochemical evidence that respiratory viruses respond to temperature fluctuations, and I became interested in the seasonality and temperature sensitivity of respiratory viruses. I published a review article on the topic in Medical Hypotheses in 2016.