Director Hackett is a co-founder of RCI with more than 50 years of experience in molecular genetics and genome engineering. He was an undergraduate in Physics at Stanford and got his Ph.D. in Biophysics and Genetics from the University of Colorado. He did postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Germany and the University of California in San Francisco.
Since 1980 he has been a professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development and is a co-founder of the Center for Genome Engineering and a member of the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center. The Sleeping Beauty Transposon System was invented in his lab for non-viral gene therapy. He is co-founder of three biotech companies, Discovery Genomics (acquired by Immusoft), Recombinetics, which focuses on genome editing in large animals, and NovoClade, specializing in synthetic speciation for environmentally friendly pest control.