Georgina Ferry interviews Fiona Powrie.
Fiona Powrie FRS is Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in Oxford. The first in her family to receive a university education, she studied biochemistry at the University of Bath. She thought better of her first choice of accountancy as a career, and came to the MRC Immunology Unit at the Dunn School to undertake a DPhil with Don Mason. She discovered a regulatory role for T cells in the immune response, and while pursuing this work during her post-doc at the DNAX Research Institute in California, discovered a connection between the immune response and inflammation in the gut. Her research has focused ever since on the role of interactions between gut bacteria and the immune system in inflammatory bowel disease. She returned to Oxford with a Wellcome Senior Fellowship at the Nuffield Department of Surgery before coming back to the Dunn School as Professor of Immunology in 2001. In 2009 she was appointed to the new Sidney Truelove Chair in Gastroenterology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, and five years later took up her current position at the Kennedy Institute. She has received many honours for her work, including the 2012 Louis-Jeantet Prize.