Associate Professor Biggs completed an undergraduate degree in Applied Biochemistry at Brunel University where he received a first class BSc (Hons) in 1992. He then went on to study a PhD in human familial cancer genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research – part of the University of London – and was awarded a PhD in 1996. His first postdoctoral position was with one of his PhD supervisors at the Institute of Cancer Research (Prof Sir Michael Stratton) looking into familial genes involved in testicular cancer. Continuing the theme of cancer genetics, he then went to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, USA for three years (1998 – 2001) to work with Prof Allan Bradley in the study of genes involved in breast cancer.
Associate Professor Biggs returned to the UK in 2001 when Prof Bradley replaced Prof Sir John Sulston as the new Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge. Associate Professor Biggs continued to work with Prof Bradley, and then moved to work with Dr Bill Skarnes as part of a murine stem cell resource generation project, where he developed his interest in the field of computational biology. He was made Group Leader for the project in 2002, and then Informatics Group Leader in 2006 as the project grew in size, a position he held until 2007 when he moved to New Zealand.
Associate Professor Biggs joined Massey University in late 2007 where he worked in collaboration with the Allan Wilson Centre and the Massey Genome Service in next generation sequencing data generation and analysis. It was at this point that he developed his interest in food-borne pathogens, and started his long-term collaboration with Prof Nigel French in the Molecular Epidemiology laboratory within the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences (IVABS). In 2011, Associate Professor Biggs became a Senior Lecturer in Computational Biology in IVABS – his current position – and split his time between research within the Molecular Epidemiology team and working for the Massey Genome Service. His current research interests are in comparative bacterial pathogenomics, particularly species within the Campylobacter, Salmonella and Escherichia genera. In 2012 he joined New Zealand Genomics Ltd (NZGL) as part of the Massey Genome Service to provide genomics and bioinformatics support, where he is now Bioinformatics Team Leader for a national group of around 15 bioinformaticians from three universities. Currently he is an Associate Editor at PLoS ONE and was on the organising committee for the 18th workshop on Campylobacter, Helicobacter and Related Organisms that was held in Rotorua 2015.