Prof Brunton gained her BSc Hons in Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen. After being awarded her PhD in 1990 she moved to the Department of Medical Oncology at the University of Glasgow with Prof Paul Workman and spent three years working on the preclinical development of EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. She then moved to the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research as a post-doc with Prof Margaret Frame where she worked on the role of the non-receptor tyrosine kinases Src and FAK in tumour cell progression. She has been involved in both the preclinical and clinical development of FAK and Src inhibitors, and continues to work on the development of these and other targeted agents since taking up her position as head of the Cancer Therapeutics group at the ECRC in 2008. She was appointed as chair of Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Edinburgh in 2013.