J. Victor Small gained a Ph.D. in biophysics at King’s College London University in 1969. He then took up a research lectureship at Aarhus University Denmark, in the Institutes of Biophysics and Molecular Biology, working on the structure and biochemistry of smooth muscle.
From 1978–2003 he headed the Department of Physics/ Cell Biology at the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Salzburg, Austria. The research interests of the department included a continuation of research on smooth muscle as well as on the mechanism of cell motility. The latter work focused on elucidating the role of the cytoskeleton in cell movement and guidance.
From 2004–2013 Vic Small was a senior group leader at the newly established Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. During this latter period he exploited the emerging technique of electron tomography to reveal new details of the nano-machinery of migrating cells.
Vic and his Austrian wife Michaela have three children and seven grandchildren.