Dr Neil Crickmore
I have been working on the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis and its toxins for around 30 years. Initially I worked closely with industry to develop methodologies for the production of recombinant bacteria to be deployed commercially as biological insecticides. In the 1990s I developed a nomenclature system for Bt toxins which is still in use today, overseen by a committee that I chair. Upon obtaining a tenured position my interests became more academic – understanding how the bacteria and its toxins function and investigating how target pests develop resistance to these agents. More recently I have become interested in a subset of these pore-forming toxins that naturally target human cancer cells. This line of research can not only help us understand the nature of the tight host specificity observed with these toxins, but also has potential for therapeutic treatments. Aside from my work with the toxin nomenclature I am editor in charge of bacterial manuscripts for the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, as well as being heavily involved with the parent society. I collaborate widely, particularly in China where I hold Visiting Professor status in Beijing, but also with groups in Brazil, India, Pakistan, USA and the UK.