Alan was instrumental in setting up and running testing labs during the pandemic. In early 2020, he was seconded to the Milton Keynes Lighthouse Lab as Infectious Disease Lead, the first of three Government ‘mega-labs’ to be set up across the UK, vastly increasing testing capacity and allowing thousands more patient samples to be processed each day.
Professor McNally and colleagues established a PCR testing lab at the University in June 2020, and an asymptomatic testing site in November 2020. His work and expertise have been a source of great pride and comfort for the University community.
What’s your connection to the University?
I am a Professor of Microbial Genomics and Director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection.
Do you have any favourite sports? What do you like about them?
I love watching football and cricket, and cycling, which I also used to do lots of - including cycling up French mountains.
While growing up, did you follow any particular sports stars?
I still avidly follow cycling and since moving to Birmingham have become a member of Warwickshire County Cricket Club. You can’t beat a day at the cricket.
What are you most looking forward to during the Games?
The vibrancy and buzz around the city and wider West Midlands. It’s great the cycling Time Trial is coming to Wolverhampton, which is very near where I live.
How does it feel to know your alma mater is hosting the Games?
It’s great that the University, as the original civic university, can play a key role in allowing the Games to come to Birmingham.
How does it feel to be selected as a batonbearer?
I was incredibly surprised and very humbled. Me carrying the baton reflects the work of hundreds of amazingly talented early career scientists who put their own lives and careers on hold to deliver the COVID testing I was involved in. I only wish they could all run alongside me on the day.