Professor Rob Field, internationally recognised for his work in carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry, has been appointed as Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), a world-leading centre for industry-focussed biotechnology research.

Commenting on his new appointment, Rob says: “The University of Manchester is a prestigious institution and it is a privilege to take this position. I look forward to refreshing and extending the fantastic programmes that MIB researchers have developed over the past decade.”

In parallel with his new appointment, Rob will maintain his commitment as CEO of Iceni Diagnostics, the company he co-founded with Professor David Russell in 2014. Iceni Diagnostics is developing a strong pipeline of carbohydrate-based diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. This portfolio is supplemented through participation in a number of prestigious EU programmes, including the Sweet Crosstalk training network, which is looking at alternatives to antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of gastroenteritis, and the PoLiMeR training network on a glycogen storage disorders, with implications for various diseases of carbohydrate metabolism including diabetes.

Professor Field, who is currently a group leader at the John Innes Centre, will leave this position to join the MIB on 1 January 2020. Rob comments: “Over the past 15 years we have built a strong capability in glycoscience, looking at the interface between chemistry and biology to deliver a better understanding of fundamental biological processes involving carbohydrates. This is an area with great potential and the move to MIB offers the opportunity to step beyond classical discovery science and to embrace industry-facing R&D in this under-developed field. ”

Rob will be splitting his time between Manchester and the Norwich Research Park, where Iceni Diagnostics are based. The company is currently fundraising to take it to the next stage and is keen to remain in Norfolk as it grows.