Educated at the University of Oxford, Professor Bayley spent most of his academic career at leading US academic institutions, including Harvard, MIT, the University of Massachusetts and Texas A&M University. He returned to the UK in 2003 as the Professor of Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Oxford's Chemistry department is now the largest in the western world, and it has recently completed the construction of state-of-the-art facilities for multidisciplinary chemistry research. The academic standards of the department are regarded as second to none, and the teaching course was recently given the highest possible rankings by two educational authorities.
Professor Bayley's research interests lie in the exploration of membrane protein structure and function, and the use of molecular engineering techniques that transform these proteins into unique measurement systems for exploring the chemistry of individual molecules. Of particular interest are the analysis of DNA at the single molecule level, and the potential for ultra-fast gene sequencing using nanopores. Professor Bayley founded Oxford NanoLabs (now Oxford Nanopore) in 2005.