Dr Eve Hanks is a veterinary surgeon with a certificate in medicine and a Ph.D. in immunology and is responsible for the conception, the innovation and has oversight of the technology development. She leads the team and heads the business’s fundraising, networking, and science education aspects.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role

I am a veterinary surgeon with around 12 years of experience in practice with pets, farm animals and horses. However, despite my time in vet practice, I always loved science so I kept studying. I completed a postgraduate certificate in medicine and then a PhD in immunology. Later I worked for the University sector in Scotland as a clinical pathologist. All of this training led me to launch a novel and innovative diagnostic testing company and I am both founder and CEO. I currently have a dog, I’ve always been more dog than cat orientated, controversial I know, and I was for many years a horse owner too. I’m also the proud mother of a wonderful daughter. It’s great to watch her make her way through the early stages of her career and she has chosen to work in the technology sector too.

You and your team are predicting disease through cutting-edge science, can you tell us more?

Absolutely, I could talk about our technology all day. I am completely enchanted by this new field of science and it presents to us a very elegant solution to an age-old problem in diagnosis. It is relatively easy to diagnose later stages of disease, as there are often a raft of signs and symptoms along with changes in the levels of proteins in response to tissues being damaged. However, the utopia of disease detection is in the early stages where, typically, treatments are most effective and recovery or stabilisation is most likely. This is challenging with existing technologies. However, with our newly discovered biomarkers and our clever use of Artificial Intelligence, we can reveal early-stage disease. Our work suggests that we can then go on to predict whether the disease will get worse or not. This is a complete revolution in diagnostics and we are leading the way with our ground-breaking, investigative science.

Describe your typical day, if there is such a thing

So, I’m currently training for a marathon so I start each day with a run. Not because of high levels of motivation in the morning but because I have zero motivation by the end of the day. I live in the French countryside so it’s an absolute privilege to spend a bit of time in nature with the wee dog. Then I usually have a set of meetings, calls, emails and paperwork from home. When I’m travelling, which is around two weeks every month, I try to make some time to discover something new about the city that I am in. I am so lucky to get the chance to explore new places and meet new people so I don’t want it to pass me by in a blur, I’d like some good memories.

How important is AI in your daily career?

Well, I believe that AI is now really important to everyone’s career. We currently use assisted learning so we retain a lot of control over the processes and the output. However, I think that as development around AI in Medtech accelerates, I don’t expect my job to look the same. I also don’t expect my previous career as a Veterinary Surgeon will look the same in five to ten years. It’s an exciting time but it will also be challenging to remain relevant, as leaders, scientists, care providers and innovators as we move into the next decade.

Where did your interest in early disease detection begin?

I think it all started due to the frustration that I felt when practising as a Veterinary Surgeon and realising that in the vast majority of cases, I couldn’t be as proactive as I’d like to be with pet health or on a farm with herd health planning. This essentially means that owners had less time with their pets and the challenges on farms that needed the most attention such as increasing welfare, increasing productivity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and antimicrobial use were always out of reach. So, I decided to change things up.

What career challenges have you faced along the way and how have you overcome these?

There have been a lot of ups and downs on the road for sure. I talk about my career as being a bit of a patchwork quilt and I’m not sure I’ve finished with the twists and turns by any means. I think I’ve had the same challenges that are faced by a lot of women, we do the majority of the care roles for children and family and we can’t ever offload the household tasks whilst trying to create a career. In addition, entrepreneurship is very financially insecure, and I am not in a position of independent wealth. That means I was working crazy hours, two to three jobs and making ends meet, particularly when I was studying and in the first two years of the company. However, I’ve been predominantly very fortunate in my career so far.

Tell us about your biggest career achievement to date 

My relationship with my daughter, by far. I’m delighted with my career success and the awards that I have won but raising my daughter, with all of this going on, has been the most important aspect of achievement for me.

What resources do you recommend for women working in health and science, e.g.podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

I love books and podcasts! I recently enjoyed Lessons in Chemistry and there is nothing like a true crime podcast to destress, I’ve no idea why that works, but it does! Other than that, I think conference visits and networking events have been invaluable for me and there are lots of veterinary-specific shows and meetings that early-stage companies can get involved with, so that’s where I have focused most of my networking efforts.
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