Mike graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1986 having read Natural Sciences. He then became the first PhD bursary student supported by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he developed his interest in phytochemicals and natural products as potential agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Having worked with colleagues at both Birkbeck College and Imperial College, University of London, Professor Cole obtained his PhD in Natural Product Chemistry in 1990.
Following a short spell in industry, Professor Cole joined the Forensic Science Unit at the University of Strathclyde in 1991 as a short course tutor. In this position he developed CPD and research courses in forensic chemistry and delivered them as far afield as North and South America, Asia and many countries in Europe. Following permanent appointment at Strathclyde, and progressing through lecturing and senior lecturing posts, he became the Reader of Forensic Science and Director of the Forensic Science Unit in 2000.
In 2001, Mike joined Anglia Ruskin University as Professor of Forensic Science and Head of the Department of Forensic Science. At the time he was the youngest full Professor of Forensic Science in the world. Mike became Deputy Dean for Research and External Income in the Faculty of Science and Technology in 2014.
Mike's research interests include drug chemistry, drug profiling and comparison, drug toxicity and the development of analytical techniques for novel psychoactive substances.