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Top PI Malcolm Walkinshaw: Following the opportunity

Willingness to embrace change can take a career in unexpected directions. Gretchen Ransow talks to Malcolm Walkinshaw of the University of Edinburgh to find out how this chemist built a centre and won funding to combat sleeping sickness.

Successful research careers don’t always correlate with a steady stream of winning proposals. In fact Malcolm Walkinshaw, professor of structural chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and director of the university’s Centre for Translational and Chemical Biology, expresses surprise to have been asked to give this interview at all.

But the numbers don’t lie: in the last 20 years, Walkinshaw has been named as a principal or co-investigator on grants totalling more than £19 million, including funding from three UK research councils, the Wellcome Trust and the US National Institutes of Health. He says that being open to change and following the opportunities as they arise has powered this career.

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