David Gems was a postdoc at the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA working with Don Riddle, before moving to University College London (UCL) with a Royal Society fellowship in 1997. He is now Professor of Biogerontology and a director of the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing. A major focus of his research is understanding fundamental mechanisms of ageing (senescence) by studying the short-lived animal model C. elegans. This, it is hoped, will yield insights into the origins of senescent pathologies of the elderly, now the major cause of chronic illness and death worldwide. He has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals.