Jackie Hunter was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1956. She studied for a BSc in Physiology and Psychology at Bedford College, University of London, followed by a PhD. Hunter has established a successful career in the science and pharmaceutical industries. She is currently a board director for BenevolentAI and CEO of BenevolentBio, its bioscience division. Under her leadership, this company has installed a deep-learning supercomputer for use in their algorithm-driven drug discovery program and they are the first company of this kind to do so in Europe. Hunter is also the former CEO of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Jackie Hunter.
1. She Got Her PhD for Work at London Zoo
In 1981, Jackie Hunter was awarded her PhD. This was for the work she carried out at London Zoo. The title of her thesis is ‘Chemical communication, aggression, and sexual behaviour in the owl monkey’.
2. She Was Once on University Challenge
In 1976, while a student Bedford College in the University of London, she represented her college on the television quiz show ‘University Challenge’. Hunter has described this as one of her best memories from her time at university even though her team lost. She said the selection test was challenging and everyone was surprised when she got in to the show. The show was filmed in Manchester and there was a coach of supporters traveling to watch the competition. Unfortunately, the coach broke down in Watford and never arrived.
3. She Did a Research Fellowship
Once she had completed her PhD, Hunter decided to do a research fellowship. She did so under the Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral scheme at St. George’s Hospital Medical School. This led to her working in the pharmaceutical industry.
4. She Has Won Numerous Awards
Jackie Hunter has won numerous awards and honors in recognition of her work in the pharmaceutical industry. She has been awarded a Fellowship of the British Pharmacological Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of Biology, and the Zoological Society of London. In 2010, she was awarded a CBE for services to the pharmaceutical industry. In the same year, she won a Women of Achievement in Science, Engineering, and Technology in the category of Discovery, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.
5. She Worked at GlaxoSmithKline
One of Hunter’s first jobs was investigating novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease at Glaxo. She then worked for Astra for three years before getting a position at SmithKline and French in 1989. She remained when the company merged with Beecham to become SmithKlineBeecham. This company then merged with GlaxoWellcome and became GlaxoSmithKline and she held the position of Head of Neurology and the GI Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery. She was also the Site Head for the Harlow GSK site.
6. She is a Professor
In addition to her role at BenevolentBio, Jacki Hunter is also a Professor at St. George’s Hospital Medical School.
7. She Always Wanted to Be a Scientist
Some children have completely different aspirations for a job as a child than the career path they eventually end up following. This was not the case for Jackie Hunter as she always wanted to become a scientist. She can even remember an unfortunate incident where she was investigating maggots in a dead animal’s leg as a child, much to the displeasure of her mother.
8. She Enjoys Cooking
Jackie hunter enjoys cooking and is quite experimental in the kitchen. She likes to create new recipes and try new dishes. Her husband and daughter help her to keep a good work-life balance and spending meal times together is important to her.
9. She likes to Garden in Her Free Time
Although her career keeps her occupied, Jackie Hunter likes to spend time in her garden in her free time. However, she has admitted that she doesn’t always think gardening is good fun but she feels she gets a lot from her garden. She also likes to run if she gets the opportunity.
10. She Was a Party Animal at University
Although she now has a very sensible and responsible job, Jackie Hunter has described herself as being a party animal while at university. She worked in a bar and also took on the role of the student union’s publicity officer. She would regularly attend balls and discos where she let down her hair and dance on the tables.