Peter Beard studied mathematics, physics and chemistry at the University of Glasgow. After graduating in biochemistry, he moved to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, where he obtained his PhD with L.V. Crawford in 1971. He then worked with P. Berg at Stanford University at the time the idea of gene cloning was first being tested. After initially joining B. Hirt in the Virology group at ISREC, he subsequently became a member of the senior scientific staff and was appointed as EPFL Adjunct Professor (professeur titulaire) in 2008. His work has focused on the relation between viral infections and cancer. Since 2011 he is Professor Emeritus and works with the undergraduate Teaching Section of Life Sciences and Technology on coordinating the Master's program in Molecular Medicine.