Matthew Baker grew up in Dunedin, NZ, went to high school in Sydney, Australia, and studied maths and chemistry at the Australian National University in Canberra. He was a John Monash Scholar and after a brief stint at the Vrije Universiteit in Holland, working on kinesins, he used this funding to go to Oxford University where he studied a DPhil in Physics looking at the bacterial flagellar motor - the outboard motor for the salmonella speedboat.
Matt is currently investigating the membrane transporter Tat, which transports folded proteins across the cell membrane in bacteria and in chloroplasts, and is essential for virulence in pathogenic bacteria. He uses single-molecule fluorescence techniques to look at the different parts of Tat, and is doing this work in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Departments at Oxford University.
Matt enjoys discussing and working on molecular motors, in that order, because they are remarkable machines honed by evolution, but more fun to talk about than to do laborious experiments on. Matt also has the rare honour of representing Australia in the two goofiest sports he could find as a child: hacky sack and fencing, but is known in both sports, and his research, more for his chat than his skills.