Dr Sawyer obtained her MSci from Imperial College London and her PhD from the University of Cambridge. She then undertook postdoctoral fellowships in Australia and China, where her research focussed on methods for studying the process of amyloid formation, structural studies of prion chimeras and bacterial amyloids with positive biological functions. She returned to the UK to take up the position of investigator scientist in the molecular diagnostics group at the MRC Prion Unit, UCL. Her research at the Prion Unit involved developing assays for the detection of prions in biological samples, including exploiting their ability to template the conversion of correctly folded proteins to amplify pathogenic material in vitro. Most recently, Dr Sawyer’s research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has focussed on other aspects of protein synthesis and structure. She retains a keen interest in protein misfolding studies.