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Anthony Campbell was born in Bangor, North Wales, in 1945, but grew up in London, attending the City of London School. He obtained an exhibition at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and then a first class degree in Natural Sciences, and a PhD in Biochemistry at Cambridge University. He moved to Cardiff as lecturer in Medical Biochemistry at the then Welsh National School of Medicine in 1970, and then Professor in Medical Biochemistry, followed by Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University.
Professor Anthony K Campbell
He has studied intracellular calcium as a cell regulator for over 40 years, pioneering the application of Ca2+-activated photoproteins to measure free Ca2+ in live animal, plant, bacterial and archaeal cells.
He is a world authority on bioluminescence, having studied widely the natural history of this remarkable phenomenon, and developing the use of genetically engineered bioluminescence to measure chemical processes in live cells. One of his inventions, using chemiluminescence, is now used in several hundred million clinical tests per year worldwide, was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 1998, and was selected by the Eureka project of Universities UK in 2006 as one of the top hundred inventions and discoveries from UK Universities in the past 50 years.
For the past 15 years his research focus has been lactose and food intolerance, which has led to a new hypothesis on the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, and the mystery illness which afflicted Charles Darwin for 50 years, but was never cured. He is now investigating the relevance of this hypothesis to the current diabetic epidemic, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. He has published 10 books, and over 250 internationally peer-reviewed papers on intracellular calcium, bioluminescence, lactose and food intolerance. Several of his patents have been exploited throughout the world
Anthony believes passionately in communicating science to the public, and in exciting pupils and students about natural history and cutting edge science. This led him to found the Darwin Centre (www.darwincentre.com) in 1993, now in Pembrokeshire. He also founded the Public Understanding of Science (PUSH) group at Cardiff University in 1994, which organizes many events with schools and the public. He has had a laboratory in his house since he was 11 years old. In 1996 he used his patent income to set up Welston Court Science Centre in Pembrokeshire, which is a facility to support the Darwin Centre.
He has given regular talks on food intolerance, Darwin, and bioluminescence, at scientific meetings, to schools and the public. He won the Inspire Wales award for Science and Technology in 2011. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society, and a foreign member of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. In 2013, he was elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and to the Council of the Linnean Society.
In 2016, with his wife, he set up The Young Darwinian, an international journal for school students to publish their projects and scientific experiences (www.theyoungdarwinian.com). Their current flagship project is focused on the occurrence of microplastics and their damaging effect on living systems
He has been a keen naturalist and musician all his life, as a tenor soloist, conductor and viola player. Now he is developing a project ‘DNA sings’ to convert light into music. He also makes music in the kitchen, as a keen cook. As a young scientist he was keen as a University and County bridge player, and now, after 45 years, he has started playing again, and is Chairman of Penarth Bridge Club. He has a wife, Stephanie, five amazing children, and six beautiful grandchildren.
Professor Campbell resigned unexpectedly from the society shortly after taking the role, but as we headed uinto the pandemic was not replaced until 2023
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These pages are part of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society 150th Anniversary celebrations and are about our history and are celebrating the people who developed our Society and helped build the city and the cultural heritage of Cardiff. You can read more about that using the links above
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