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Alastair F. Brown

(Al Brown)

"Web users ultimately want to get at data quickly and easily. They don't care as much about attractive sites and pretty design." Tim Berners-Lee

Brief Curriculum Vitae


Alastair F. Brown B.Sc.(Hons) Ph.D.

Full Name

Alastair Fergus Brown


I should probably put a paragraph here about how I am a great team player but able to work alone and use initiative, blah, blah, blah. You know the sort of thing, appears on almost every job application you have ever read, copied from the web or given by a trainer at a "How to Write a C.V." course. And I like things to be chronological, not in reverse order - that is done to please lazy H.R. staff and interviewers.


  • 1975-1979: B.Sc. (Hons) Molecular Biology - University of Glasgow
  • 1979-1982: Ph.D. "The Adhesion and Locomotion of Neutrophil Granulocytes on Two-Dimensional Substrata and in Three-Dimensional Matrices" - University of Glasgow


  • 1982-1983: Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Glasgow
  • 1983-1986: Medical Research Council Training Fellow, MRC Cell Biophysics Unit, King's College London
  • 1986-1991: Post-doctoral Researcher, MRC Cell Biophysics Unit/MRC Muscle and Cell Motility Unit, King's College London
  • 1991-1993: Computing Services Coordinator, MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh
  • 1993-2013: Head of Computing, MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh

Other Positions Held

  • 2001-2019: Founding Council Member of Human Genome Variation Society (HGVS)
  • 2001-2008: Web master and Abstract Coordinator for annual Human Genome Meeting held by the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO)
  • 2003-2018: Member of Editorial Board, Human Mutation (Wiley-Blackwell)

Other Qualifications and Courses Attended

  • 2009: ISEB Certificate in Information Security Management Principles - Pass with Distinction
  • Best Practice in Recruitment
  • Risk Assessment
  • Display Screen Equipment Health and Safety Assessor
  • Negotiating and Influencing Skills

Skill Sets

Computing Systems Management:

  • General: Project planning, risk assessment, budget management, disaster recovery/business continuity
  • Operating Systems: OpenBSD, Solaris, Windows, Linux
  • SANs: Sun/Oracle SAN systems, Transtec SAN systems
  • Networking: Planning, Design, and Roll out of Layer2/3 switches/routers, VLANs, CARP Failover, copper/fibre infrastructure
  • WiFi: Planning, Design, and Roll out of WiFi networks, access control to Open and Secure WiFi nets
  • Network Services: DNS (BIND/Unbound/NSD), DHCP, CIFS/Samba, FTP, SMS, VPN (OpenVPN,PPTP)
  • e-Mail: OpenSMTP, Sendmail, Postfix, IMAP, POP3
  • Security and Monitoring: PF Firewalls, Snort, Nagios/Icinga, Munin, Dansguardian
  • Web: HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, Apache, Nginx, Dokuwiki, Mediawiki, Drupal
  • Databases: mySQL
  • Programming: C, PHP, Unix Shell, Java, FORTRAN, Pascal, Basic, Assembler

Staff and Other Management:

  • Health and Safety, Risk Management
  • Business Continuity
  • Recruitment and interviewing
  • Staff development and appraisal
  • Budget Management
  • Interaction with collaborators and suppliers
  • Sat on various boards and committees for MRC/HGU/Edinburgh University

Other Interests

  • 1976-present: Director of Glasgow Perthshire Charitable Society (Preses 2000-2010, Bursary Coordinator 2011-present)
  • Luthiery
  • Playing guitar and other stringed instruments
  • Tropical Aquaria
  • Gardening
  • Former Chair Cramond School PSA/PTA


Please go to the Publications page.