When I look back on school days, I can think that it was our Zoology master, Arthur Ellis, who really inspired me to go into a scientific career. He was a wonderful teacher.’
Ann moved to Edinburgh in 1969 to take a post with the MRC Unit at the Western General Hospital which at that time was specialising in chromosome analysis of selected groups within the population. Her remit was to look at men attending a large infertility clinic at the hospital to ascertain whether genetic factors might be contributing to their infertility.
Before she retired in 1996, by which time DNA analysis had become possible, they had successfully cloned out a group of genes on the Y chromosome which were responsible for sperm production and which were missing or mutated in these men. The test they devised for searching the genome for gene deletions in this area is now widely applied in infertility clinics around the world as a diagnostic tool.