In spite of everything, many people still underestimate women, in general, and older women, in particular. They have clearly never encountered Kay Davies, the dynamic 70-year-old Oxford geneticist, who is ‘retiring’ after a lifetime’s research (but not really). Just a few minutes immersed in the company of the self-effacing-but-determined Professor Dame, is enough to make anyone exhausted and put paid to stereotypes about women.
Forget about older women being invisible, you could not miss Professor Davies, who arrives promptly for her interview, lovely in a hallmark brightly coloured jacket (more of which later).
But the professor’s story is even more arresting than her striking appearance. Having arrived in Oxford more than 50 years’ ago, Professor Davies has worked with some of the leading medical scientists of the last half century.
She has been tirelessly at the cutting-edge of genetic science; is close to a cure for a devastating genetic condition – and has found time to be a member of the Council of the Medical Research Council, Deputy Chair of the Wellcome Trust and hold a variety of other posts. Professor Davies has been honoured in the UK (a CBE, followed by a DBE in 2008) and in the US (by the American Society of Human Genetics) – oh...and she has a family.