Sir Tim Hunt FRS

The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK

Tim Hunt was, until his retirement in 2010, a ‘principal scientist’ (note, not THE principal scientist) at Cancer Research UK, Clare Hall Laboratories, in South Mimms, Hertfordshire. Tim was born in 1943 and grew up in Oxford, moving to Cambridge to read Natural Sciences in 1961. He obtained his Ph.D. (The Synthesis of Haemoglobin) from the Department of Biochemistry in Cambridge in 1968. He spent almost 30 years in Cambridge, working in the Department of Biochemistry, at first on the control of protein synthesis in red blood cells, sea urchin eggs and clam oocytes and from about 1983 onwards on the control of the cell cycle. He has also worked in the USA; he was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 1968-70 and spent summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole from 1977 until 1985, teaching laboratory courses and doing research. In 1982, he discovered cyclins, which turned out to be components of ‘key regulator(s) of the cell cycle’. This led to a share of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001, together with Lee Hartwell and Paul Nurse. Tim Hunt was chairman of the council of EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) from 2006 to 2010. In 2011, he was appointed to the Scientific Council of the ERC (European Research Council). Tim has been helping to make up problems for Molecular Biology of the Cell by Alberts et al. since 1985, and The Problems Book is now in its 6th edition.