Chris French studied Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering at Massey University, New Zealand, then worked at the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute before undertaking a Ph.D. at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge. 

He is now Professor of Microbial Biotechnology in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, as well as a member of the Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Joint Research Centre for Engineering Biology (JRCEB) in Haining, China. 

His laboratory ( conducts research in DNA assembly as well as applications of synthetic biology in biomass processing and biosensors. He is also Co-Chair of the Responsible Conduct Committee of the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM), and Scientific Advisor to Biotangents (, a company specializing in development of veterinary diagnostic tests.

Professor French hopes to work with colleagues such as Dr. Kwabena Duedu of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana ( , to develop new diagnostics for rapid detection and monitoring of infectious agents, as well as new processes for conversion of biomass to renewable fuels and feedstocks.