Ole H Petersen is MRC Professor at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences. Educated as a medical doctor at the University of Copenhagen, he has served as Professor of Physiology at the University of Dundee and George Holt Professor of Physiology at the University of Liverpool. Ole Petersen pioneered single channel and whole cell current recording in epithelial cells, characterizing the calcium-activated ion channels that control fluid secretion. He discovered hormone-evoked local calcium signals, as well as their mechanism of generation, and showed that they control exocytotic enzyme secretion. More recently, he and his collaborators have discovered how alcohol and products of alcohol and fatty acids evoke excessive calcium release from intracellular stores thereby initiating pancreatitis, a human disease in which the pancreas digests itself and its surroundings. He has defined the intracellular receptor mechanisms responsible for alcohol-related pancreatitis and shown how they can be blocked. He was elected Fellow of The Royal Society in 2000 and Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2010. He received the Nordic Insulin Foundation’s Jacobaeus Prize in 1994, the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Purkynĕ Medal in 2003 and became Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2008. In 2013, Ole Petersen was awarded The American Physiological Society’s Horace W Davenport Distinguished Lectureship and delivered the Award Lecture at ‘Experimental Biology’ in Boston.