Kenneth Timmis read microbiology and obtained his Ph.D. at Bristol University. He undertook post-doctoral training at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Yale and Stanford, at the latter two as a Fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation. He was then appointed Head of an Independent Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, then Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Geneva Faculty of Medicine. Thereafter, for almost 20 years, he was Director of the Division of Microbiology at the National Research Centre for Biotechnology (GBF)/now the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI). He is currently Head of the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory at the HZI and Professor of Microbiology at the Technical University Braunschweig. Professor Timmis has worked for more than 30 years in the area of environmental microbiology and biotechnology, has published around 400 peer reviewed original research papers in international journals, and is an ISI Highly Cited Microbiology-100 researcher. His group has worked for many years, inter alia, on the biodegradation of oil hydrocarbons, especially the genetics and regulation of toluene degradation, pioneered the topic of experimental evolution of novel catabolic activities, discovered the new group of marine hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria, and initiated genome sequencing projects on bacteria that are paradigms of microbes that degrade organic compounds (Pseudomonas putida and Alcanivorax borkumensis). He is Fellow of the Royal Society, Member of the EMBO, Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, Recipient of the Erwin Schrödinger Prize, and Scientific Advisory Board Member of leading research institutes. He founded the journals 'Environmental Microbiology' and 'Microbial Biotechnology'.
Photo by courtesy of the Royal Society