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In 1990, John Mackrill graduated with a 1st Class BSc (Biology) degree from Imperial College, London. Although the research components in this primary degree were centred on the area of molecular parasitology, John switched tack for his PhD, investigating the biochemistry of ryanodine receptor calcium release channels under the supervision of Prof. F. Anthony Lai, at the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research, London. The field of calcium signalling struck a chord: in 1994, he was employed as a postdoctoral researcher, working on inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor calcium channels at the Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Leicester, UK. In 1997, he arrived at the Department of Biochemistry, UCC as a European Union Training and Mobility Fellow in the area of skeletal muscle excitation-contraction coupling, prior to being awarded a Health Research Board Career Development Fellowship in 2001, on the roles of ryanodine receptors in smooth muscle. John was engaged as a fixed-term lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry, before securing his current position in the Department of Physiology in 2005. Research in John’s laboratory centres on characterising calcium signalling pathways in mammalian cells and on the involvement of these systems in normal physiology and in disease.