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After receiving the prestigious title of Emeritus, Professor Lamont will remain at Otago doing research even after his retirement, but also plans on taking time out to travel and start new hobbies.

Professor Iain Lamont is more than deserving of the Emeritus title.

The world-leading expert on the molecular genetics of the antibiotic-resistant pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa retires at the end of this year with the title of Emeritus Professor.

Professor Lamont has spent decades fighting against the pathogenic bacterium which infects and secretes toxins into some of the most vulnerable people, those with pre-existing medical conditions.

“I feel honoured and grateful to have been awarded Emeritus status” Professor Lamont says.

“It’s very exciting and will be hugely helpful in me continuing my work with the University after my official retirement.”

Professor Lamont’s fascination with the unseen world began at Madras College High School, in St Andrews Scotland, with an interest in biology and chemistry, which evolved to him achieving a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh in 1980.

He then embarked on a PhD at the University of Oxford after which in 1984 his scientific journey took him to the University of Adelaide, South Australia, where he would meet his wife.

The couple heard how “Dunedin was a fantastic place to live and work” and Iain decided to join the Department of Biochemistry in 1987, where he started his crucial work researching Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Professor Lamont did not make this decision lightly, it came after great deliberation on what genuine health problem he could dedicate his life to fighting against.

“I wanted to work on something that combined all I had learnt up to that point, a real medical issue, as well as being something students could be a part of,” Professor Lamont says.

“This led to mainly focusing on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the biochemical processes that take place once this infection sets in, because it is very difficult to treat and is resistant to antibiotics.”

The Head of the Department of Biochemistry, Professor Peter Dearden, says Professor Lamont’s research has transformed academics’ understanding of iron signalling and gene regulation in bacteria, with important implications for how infections might be managed and treated in the future.

“Iain has always been a present, helpful and active colleague, whose thoughts are always worth listening to,” Professor Dearden says.

“He is an excellent teacher, researcher and academic leader and, after serving the University for such a long time now, he has well and truly become part of the Department of Biochemistry’s DNA.”

- Kōrero by Kelsey Schutte, Division of Health Sciences Communications Adviser.

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