Jill Barber attended a South London comprehensive school, and resolved at the age of 12 to study chemistry at Cambridge. She realised this ambition six years later, at a time when one in seven students and one in 10 chemistry students was a woman, and most of the others had attended public schools. She completed undergraduate studies in Cambridge followed by a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Jim Staunton FRS. She settled in Manchester after a five-year tour of some of the oldest universities in Europe, where she learned a certain amount of biochemistry, German and 16th century choral music.
Jill was Faculty Teacher of the Year in 2012, and in the same year won the Faculty Innovation Award with Steve Ellis, for Smallvoice, an app that gives personalised feedback to students. In 2013, "Pharmaceutical Chemistry" the first Chemistry textbook written for Pharmacy students, which Jill edited, was published by OUP. In 2014, she was appointed Reader in Pharmacy, won a University Teaching Excellence Award, became a Senior Fellow of the HEA and a National Teaching Fellow.
She still sings and plays the trombone.
I enjoy talking to external groups, such as Stockport U3A, about various aspects of science. Recent talks include:
Bacteria and how to kill them
How a trombone works
Clinical trials in the Old testament
Each year I put on a charity concert in Heaton Moor, designed principally as a community activity. In 2013, over 150 musicians took part in Dvorak's Te Deum. 2014 was a smaller event with about 70 singers taking part in Faure's Requiem.