Non-executive board director of Eden Project International Ltd
Michael’s career spans more than 40 years working on environment and human health issues. He trained as a marine biologist, investigating chemical pollution in the sea, but then broadened his approach to include medical toxicology.
This diverse research background led to early success in improving treatment outcomes in patients with leukaemia. His subsequent research has focussed on environmental threats to health, but also opportunities to use the natural environment to foster improvements in health and wellbeing.
He has spent his career at world-leading universities, research institutes and hospitals in the UK, Hong Kong, Denmark and New Zealand. Michael is a founding board member of Natural England (the UK’s conservation agency) and a former member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. He served as the Chief Scientist of the Environment Agency of England and Wales for 5 years and as the Chair of the Science Advisory Group on Climate Change and the Environment, for the European Commission. In 2010, he founded the EU-funded “European Centre for Environment and Human Health” at the University of Exeter. He is currently an advisor to the UK and Irish Governments, the European Union, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Wellcome Trust. He has successfully supervised more than 50 PhD students and over 100 Masters students, as well as lecturing to undergraduates. Michael is deeply committed to increasing awareness of the importance of nurturing our relationship with the environment to ensure future human and planetary health.
Michael holds a BSc (Hons) first class in Biological Sciences, a PhD and a DSc, all from the University of London. He is Emeritus Professor of Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School, and Honorary Professor of Public Policy at University College London. He has held (or still holds) several other Honorary Professorships at leading universities including Harvard, Oxford, Imperial College and Chiba University Medical School, Tokyo, Japan. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and of the Royal Society of Biology. In 2017, he was award a CBE for services to the environment and health in the Queens New Year’s Honours list.