Ian Henderson is Professor of Microbial Biology in the School of Immunity and Infection at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include studies on the biology of bacterial cell surface components: how they are synthesised, how they interact with the environment surrounding the bacterium and how this knowledge can be exploited to benefit society.
Professor Henderson began his life in Microbiology when he graduated from University College Dublin in 1990 with a degree in Industrial Microbiology. After his degree he worked for the Wellcome Foundation, Beckenham, Kent before returning to Trinity College Dublin to pursue a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Peter Owen. Upon completion of his PhD Prof. Henderson began his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof. James Nataro at the Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland Baltimore. He returned to Ireland in 2000 to take up a lecturing position at Queens University Belfast before moving to The University of Birmingham in 2001.
Professor Henderson plays an active role in the scientific community. He has been an editorial board member for the journals Microbiology and FEMS Microbiology Letters. He is a member of the grant review panels for the Biotechnology and Biological Research council and the Technology Strategy Board and has previously served on several international review panels. He has organised over a dozen national and international conferences. He was elected to the Society of General Microbiology, becoming the chair of the Prokaryotic Division and subsequently a member of the governing council.
Professor Henderson has published over 85 scientific articles. His seminal contributions to science include the discovery of a novel epigenetic gene regulatory mechanism in E. coli, the first solution structures of components of the BAM complex, a protein assembly machine essential for the viability of mitochondria, chloroplasts and Gram-negative bacteria, and the complete genome sequences of the prototypical strains of pathogenic and commensal E. coli. This work has resulted in two patents, collaborations with several of the largest pharmaceutical companies, and the recent award of a Royal Society of Edinburgh Fellowship.