Georgina Ferry interviews Gordon MacPherson.
Gordon MacPherson retired as Reader in Experimental Pathology at the Dunn School in 2008, having spent almost his entire scientific career in the department. He first came to Oxford in the early 1960s to read medicine, where he heard lectures by the newly-appointed head of the Dunn School Henry Harris, and learned practical skills from Margaret Jennings (Lady Florey). He completed his medical training at the London Hospital in Whitechapel, before returning to pursue a DPhil in the Dunn School with John French on blood platelets. At Harris’s suggestion, he then took up a fellowship at the John Curtin Medical School in Canberra to train in immunology, and after his return established a group that was one of the first to characterise dendritic cells, key regulators of the immune response. He has subsequently led explored a wide range of interactions involving dendritic cells, such as how they transport the prion particles that cause diseases such as scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Alongside his research, MacPherson is widely admired for his skills as a teacher and lecturer. He is co-author, with Jon Austyn, of Exploring Immunology: Concepts and Evidence, a concise textbook for undergraduates published in 2012.