Our alumni have made diverse achievements in their careers, from Life Sciences communications to advising drug companies and governments. One of our very first alumni was the first woman doctor in the western world.
Notable Biological Sciences alumni
Dr Jackie Hunter CBE (1956-)
BSc Physiology & Psychology, 1977; PhD Psychology, 1981 Bedford College
Jackie is a leading scientist and bioscience innovator, who was Senior VP and Head of Science Environment Development at GlaxoSmithKline. She is now CEO of BenevolentBio, the bioscience arm of BenevolentAI as well as a Director of BenevolentAI.
She is also a non-Executive Director of Chiltern International Group, a global CRO and a Professor at St George's Hospital Medical School and was CEO of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
At Glaxo she developed new ways to work with academia and other publicly funded bodies. She also helped drive forward the Innovative Medicines Initiative for Europe as an IMI Board member. Prior to 2008, she was Head of the Neurology Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery at GlaxoSmithKline and led the discovery and development of new therapeutics for neurological and gastrointestinal disorders.
For most of her industrial career she has focused on the discovery of drugs for serious neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease. Her main research areas are stroke and Alzheimer's Disease and she has played a major role in initiating and organising international meetings on these topics. She has also been associated with the development of drugs for the treatment of epilepsy and migraine.
Jackie is now a member of our College Council.
Dr Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman doctor in the western world. She faced extreme sexual prejudice in her attempts to qualify. Unable to gain entrance to a British medical school, she attended Geneva Medical School in New York and in 1849 became the first woman to complete a course of study and receive the M.D. degree.
Banned, by her gender, from practising in most hospitals in America, she established the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children. Returning to England in 1857, she attended Bedford College and became the first woman doctor to be entered on the General Medical Council's medical register.
Once again in the United States, Elizabeth played a notable part in the American Civil War, training numerous women as nurses for the Union side. As the War ended she established the Women's Medical College in New York to train women doctors.
Back in England from 1869, helping to found the National Health Society, with her friend Florence Nightingale, and the London School of Medicine for Women. In 1875 she became Professor of Gynaecology at the London School of Medicine for Women.
Valerie Vaz MP (1954-)
BSc Biochemistry, 1978 Bedford College
Valerie is Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party and has been the MP for Walsall South since 2010 and was reelected in 2015.
Valerie was elected and served as a Member of the influential Health Select Committee from 2010-2015 and was a member of the Regulatory Reform Committee from 2010-15 and the House of Commons Governance Committee from 2014-15.
In the 2015 Parliament Valerie has served on the Science & Technology Select committee from 2015-2016 and currently serves on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.
Previously a Treasury solicitor, Valerie was a lawyer in the Government Legal Service. She has been Deputy Leader of Ealing Council and was the first Asian woman counsellor to be elected there in 1986. Valerie was also well-known as a presenter and interviewer for the BBC programme Network East.
Delyth Morgan, the Baroness Morgan of Drefelin (1961-)
Physiology & Biochemistry, 1983 Bedford College
Baroness Delyth Morgan is Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Campaign and sits in the House of Lords as an independent peer. Morgan was a working Labour peer from 2004-11 and held junior ministerial positions for children and families, and for intellectual property in the last Labour administration.
Before being raised to the peerage Morgan had a long and successful career in the voluntary sector, including a decade at the helm of Breakthrough Breast Cancer. As Chief Executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Britain's largest breast cancer charity, Morgan oversaw the establishment of the first research centre dedicated to breast cancer in Britain.
Dr Jo Gipps OBE (1947-)
PhD Zoology, 1977 Royal Holloway College
Jo Gipps was Director of Bristol Zoo until 2010 and Director of London Zoo from 1993-2001. He was Conservation Chairman of the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums and Vice Chair of the International Species Information System in the USA.
He launched the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, a conservation branch of Bristol Zoo, which carries out conservation action and research programmes in the wild.
Despite being responsible for more than 450 different animal species at the zoo, Jo said his favourite animals by far are the endangered golden-headed lion tamarins. Jo returned to Royal Holloway as Research Fellow between 1981-84 and as Jubilee Research Fellow between 1987-90.
Professor David Bellamy OBE (1933-)
PhD Botany, 1960 Bedford College and Honorary Fellow
David Bellamy is renowned as a broadcaster, scientist, writer and environmental activist.
He has written and presented many science programmes for the BBC and ITV such as Bellamy's Britain, Botanic Man and Up a Gum Tree. He has also written widely on botanical and environmental issues and has founded and supported many charitable agencies, including the National Association for Environmental Education and the World Wildlife Fund.
Professor Martin Buck FRS (1956-)
BSc Biochemistry, 1977 Bedford College
Martin Buck is a microbiologist who is Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Head of Plant and Microbial Sciences at Imperial College, London.
Buck's studies of the genetic responses of bacteria to changes in their environment have opened avenues to the development of new antibacterial agents. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
His research explores how genes are controlled in response to environmental changes. His work revealed how a ‘molecular machine' called RNA polymerase allows access to the genetic information stored in DNA. His work has established a new paradigm for gene activation in bacteria.
Professor Stuart Cull-Candy FMedSci FRS (1946-)
BSc Zoology, 1969 Royal Holloway College
Stuart Cull-Candy is the Gaddum Chair of Pharmacology and Professor of Neuroscience at UCL. He also holds a Royal Society-Wolfson Research position.
He is a Section Editor of Current Opinions in Neurobiology and has been Editorial Advisor to Nature and other journals. Stuart is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Pharmacological Society. He was awarded the GL Brown Prize by the UK Physiological Society and was appointed a Howard Hughes International Scholar in 1993 (one of only 20 in the UK).
His research focuses on understanding the molecular and functional properties of glutamate receptor channels underlying fast synaptic transmission in the brain.
Vivienne Parry OBE (1956-)
BSc Zoology, 1978 Bedford College
Vivienne Parry is a science broadcaster and writer. She hosts medical programmes for Radio 4, writes widely on health, presents films, facilitates many high level conferences and debates and trains young researchers. She also has a part-time role as head of engagement at Genomics England which is delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project.
Parry has presented Britain's best known TV science programme, Tomorrow's World, reported for the BBC's flagship current affairs programme, Panorama, and been the columnist of the UK's once biggest selling tabloid newspaper, The News of the World.
A scientist by training, Vivienne writes and presents a wide range of programmes for BBC Radio 4, including the award winning series, Am I Normal? and Inside the Ethics Committee.
She is a frequent pundit for Five Live and many TV and radio shows, and a prolific writer for a variety of newspapers, including The Times, Mail on Sunday, The Guardian, Sunday Mirror, Daily Mirror and The Sun, and magazines such as Saga, Good Housekeeping and Woman's Own.
Her book The Truth about Hormones was shortlisted for the Aventis Science Prize.