Francis W. Hunter, PhD, MRSNZ

Francis W. Hunter, PhD, MRSNZ
Postdoctoral Fellow, Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre; and, 2017-2019 AMC Fundraising Committee Co-chair
​University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, University of Auckland, New Zealand. My research focuses on the discovery and preclinical pharmacology of anticancer drugs, including classical cytotoxins, tumor-selective small molecules and ADC payloads. Our current pipeline of discovery-stage compounds include agents for relapsed and refractory acute leukemia and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Another area interest concerns the use of next-generation sequencing and functional genetic screens (RNAi and CRISPR-Cas9) to identify determinants of sensitivity and resistance to approved and experimental treatments in medical and radiation oncology. In this area we collaborate closely with the Princess Margaret and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centers. I maintain a translational focus in my research and sit on a number of tumor boards in the Auckland DHB Oncology Service.

I am intensely interested in start-up and late-stage pharmaceutical development, having competed successfully in the Merck Serono Innovation Cup, the Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge and the OneStart healthcare accelerator. I am currently engaged in a number of commercial research projects with biotech and pharma. In addition to my appointment at the University of Auckland, I am an Affiliate Investigator at the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand and on the Executive of the New Zealand Society for Oncology.