Professor McDonald joined the School of Biosciences in 2022 to work with colleagues across the Institute of Microbiology and Infection, the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFor) and the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.
He completed a BSc in Microbiology with Industrial Experience at The University of Manchester (2004), followed by a PhD in Environmental Microbiology at the University of Liverpool (2008) under the supervision of Prof. Alan McCarthy and Dr. Heather Allison. This was followed by three short research contracts focused on bacteriophage ecology, the canine oral microbiota, and developing methods for SNP profiling in canine genomes. In 2010 he was appointed as Research Lecturer at Bangor University, North Wales, where he established research programmes on the microbiology of anaerobic waste degradation, the role of polymicrobial communities in tree disease, and collaborations with Dr. Shelagh Malham, Prof. Davey Jones, and others, on bacterial and viral pathogen ecology in the environment. He was promoted to permanent Lecturer in 2013, Senior Lecturer in 2015 and full Professor in 2019. During this time, he held various roles including module and degree programme coordinator, Director of Postgraduate Research, and sat on School and College Management Boards.