Department of Anesthesia

2018 Shields Lecturer

Irene TraceyProfessor Irene Tracey MA (Oxon), D.Phil., FRCA, FMedSci, to deliver the Annual Shields Reserach Day Lecture


Professor Irene Tracey holds the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Science and is Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford – a 550-person world-leading basic and clinical research department. Irene did her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Oxford from 1985-1993 and then held a postdoctoral position at Harvard Medical School until 1996. In 1997, Irene helped to co-found the now world-leading Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) at the University of Oxford and was its Director from 2005 until 2015. She was also Head of the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics and an Associate Head of the Medical Sciences Division at Oxford prior to taking up her current post. Over the past 18 years her multidisciplinary research team has contributed to a better understanding of pain perception, pain relief and nociceptive processing within the injured and non-injured human central nervous system using advanced neuroimaging techniques. More recently, they have been investigating the neural bases of altered states of consciousness during anaesthesia.

Alongside senior leadership roles within the University, Irene has served and continues to serve on many national and international committees, such as the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), REF2014, British Neuroscience Association and Lundbeck Brain Prize Committee. She is currently appointed to the Council of the MRC. She is a passionate advocate for women in science and is involved in several mentorship schemes. In 2008 she was awarded the triennial Patrick Wall Medal from the Royal College of Anaesthetists and in 2009 was made an FRCA for her contributions to the discipline. In 2015 she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and in 2017 won the Feldberg Foundation Prize. In September 2019, she will become the Warden of Merton College, Oxford – one of Oxford’s oldest undergraduate and graduate colleges dating back to 1264.

She is married to Professor Myles Allen, a climate physicist, and they have three children: a daughter and two sons.