Gabriel Waksman obtained his PhD in 1982 from the University of Paris. After a short spell in industry and a postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University in New York, he joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine (St Louis, USA) in 1993. In 2000, he became the Alumni Endowed Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, and in 2002 was appointed the first Roy and Diana Vagelos Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. In 2003, he moved to London (UK) to take up the Joint Chair of Structural and Molecular Biology at University College London and Birkbeck College London. The same year, he was awarded a Wolfson-Royal Society Merit Award and was appointed the Head of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology at UCL/Birkbeck. In 2006, he was appointed to the Courtauld Chair in Biochemistry at UCL, became Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (now Research Department of Structural and Molecular Biology) at UCL and was appointed Head of the School of Crystallography (now Department of Biological Sciences) at Birkbeck. He was elected to EMBO in 2007, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2008, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012 and to the German National Academy of Sciences in 2013. He maintains an active research programme in the Structural and Molecular Biology of Bacterial Secretion Systems funded by a senior investigator award from the Wellcome Trust, an Advanced ERC grant, and a programme grant from MRC.