Following school, Bill attended agricultural college then joined the staff on the Animal Breeding Research Organisation’s farm. As well as normal farm duties, such as lambing, Bill also took scientific measurements of sheep, pigs and cattle involved in research and began to study a BA Honours degree.
In 1986, he moved to the large animal surgery at The Roslin Institute and was trained to become an anaesthetist. A few years later, Bill began to work with embryos and gained experience in the delicate procedure of manipulating them. Building on this experience, he developed his own embryo manipulation techniques and became the senior embryologist in many of the cloning projects at The Roslin Institute. This included the work which produced Megan and Morag in 1995, Polly in 1997 and, of course, Dolly the Sheep in 1996. Bill was also involved in the work which resulted in Europe’s first cloned pigs in 2002.
Bill gained his PhD at Szent Istavan Egyetem (St. Steven University) Godollo, Hungary in 2007 and became a consultant embryologist. He has trained and worked with scientists from around the world and was involved in the work which produced the world’s first cloned camel, Injaz, in Dubai in 2009. Other projects have included research into cloning Scottish wildcats for conservation and work to make parasite-resistant cattle in Kenya.
Bill was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in October 2015, in recognition of his contribution to biological research.