Caroline Hargrove: from heats to hearts

Posted on January 16, 2020


There may not appear to be a connection between racing cars and new methods for treating diseases, but Caroline Hargrove (BSc’89) has found one, through a career that has ranged from pioneering McLaren’s FI racing simulator to using the same predictive modelling to develop technologies that advance our knowledge of personalized medicine and the human body.

Caroline joined McLaren, famous for its racing team, in 1997. She recalls that she while she was respected, she had to work very hard to prove herself in this male-dominated industry.

“Formula 1 racing is all about the details, and modelling in a virtual world is key,” she says. “My Queen’s degree gave me the fundamentals to do the job well and earn respect.”

While at McLaren, Caroline also became involved in the company’s technology arm, pioneering human-machine interactions for medical applications.  In 2018, she saw an opportunity to make a further global impact by joining Babylon Health, a company with a mission to use the power of AI and human expertise to make health services affordable and accessible to all.  

As Babylon’s Chief Technology Officer, Caroline leads a team that is using artificial intelligence to augment the skills of health professionals, and to pursue further advances in personalized medicine. New technologies at Babylon are exploring the concept of a ‘digital twin,’ using collected genetic data to simulate a human’s personalized health environment. By making subtle changes, the simulated twin can be analyzed to better understand the impact of various factors, giving actual humans personalized guidance for addressing health issues.

Caroline says that her engineering degree has prepared her well for a career in human-machine interactions, whether it’s in sport or medicine.

“Engineering is the swiss army knife of tools in your pocket,” she says. “It’s armed me with the tools and confidence to take me anywhere.”