I joined the Statistics Department in 1998 as a lecturer, and was appointed professor in 2004. My background is in pure maths: I got my PhD in set theory in 1980. After that I went off to Vietnam where I worked at the Foreign Languages Publishing House. There I got to know some doctors specialising in infectious diseases at the Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi; I had no idea then that I would later work on statistical methods for infectious diseases. Back in the UK I worked as a maths teacher, as circulation manager for Marxism Today, and as assistant transport officier in local government. I got a job as a statistician at the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre in 1987 and obtained an MSc in statistics at Birkbeck college the following year. The 11 years I spent at CDSC (now part of Public Health England) largely determined my research interests in applied stats: public health, epidemiology, vaccines and infectious diseases.