Tim Hunt

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Tim Hunt
Tim Hunt
Born (1943-02-19) 19 February 1943 (age 81)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Known forCell division regulation
AwardsAbraham White Scientific Achievement Award (1993)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2001)
Royal Medal (2006)
Scientific career
InstitutionsCancer Research UK

Sir Richard Timothy Hunt FRS FMedSci FRSE MAE, (born 19 February 1943 in Neston, Cheshire), is an English biochemist. He is usually known as Tim Hunt.

Hunt shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on cell division. The prize was shared with Paul Nurse and Leland H. Hartwell. They had discovered the molecules which control cell division.

Cyclins are proteins that play a key role in regulating the cell-division cycle.[1] Hunt found that cyclins begin to be synthesised after eggs are fertilised. He also found that cyclins are present in vertebrate cells, where they also regulate the cell cycle.

Early life[change | change source]

At the age of eight he was accepted into the Dragon School, where he first developed an interest in biology thanks to his German teacher, Gerd Sommerhoff.

When he was fourteen he moved to Magdalen College School, Oxford, where the science prizes now bear his name.

Career[change | change source]

In 1961, Hunt was accepted into Clare College, Cambridge to study natural sciences, graduating in 1964 and immediately beginning work in the university Department of Biochemistry.

He finished his PhD in 1968 and went to New York to work on protein synthesis. Tiny amounts of glutathione inhibited protein synthesis in reticulocytes (immature red blood cells), and tiny amounts of RNA killed the synthesis altogether. After returning to Cambridge he continued work on substances which started or inhibited protein synthesis.

In 1982 at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, he used the sea urchin (Arbacia punctulata) egg as his model organism. He discovered the cyclin molecule.

Hunt found that cyclins are present in vertebrate cells where they regulate the cell cycle. His group showed that cyclins bind and activate a family of protein kinases. One of these had been identified as a crucial cell cycle regulator by Paul Nurse.

In 1990 he began work at Imperial Cancer Research Fund.[2] In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Leland Hartwell and Paul Nurse for their work on cell division.[3] Other honours followed,[4][5] and he was knighted by the Queen in 2006.

Personal life[change | change source]

Hunt is married to Mary Collins. The couple have two daughters.

Other websites[change | change source]

  • Biographical information and videos (presentations and other) from Wilsede Science Connections
  • "Tim Hunt", Beautiful Minds, BBC Four, 2010 – web page with two-minute video interview with Hunt on the discovery of cyclin

References[change | change source]

  1. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2001". Nobel Prize Outreach. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  2. Now known as the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute in the United Kingdom. "Cancer Research UK: Tim Hunt". Archived from the original on 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  3. Nobelprize.org – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2001
  4. "Royal Medal recent winners". Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  5. "Advisory Council of the Campaign for Science and Engineering". Archived from the original on 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2011-02-11.