In this interview, CPM Director Professor Anneke Lucassen speaks to Professor Sir Walter Bodmer, asking him to reflect on his career and to think about next steps in the field of personalised medicine. Professor Bodmer is a geneticist with a wide field of study. He has made major contributions to the study of the genetics of human populations, gene mapping and cancer genetics and to our understanding of the human tissue typing system. Early in his career, he helped to discover the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system, vital for the success of organ and bone marrow transplants. Walter’s interest in human populations led him to set up a UK population gene bank that could be used as a control group in research. More recently, he has successfully grown bowel cancer cells in the lab in structures similar to those found naturally inside the bowel. Professor Bodmer is credited with beginning the movement for the public understanding of science, having chaired the first committee set up to establish standards for communicating science and technology. He was the first Director General of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and was knighted in 1986. [Biography adapted from]