Irene said: 'I’m thrilled that the work we’ve done over the years to understand pain perception has been recognised with this honour. It's been a fabulous group effort and I’d like to acknowledge all past and current team members plus collaborators who I’ve had the very good fortune and privilege to work alongside.
I’d also like to thank NDCN and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (FMRIB) for their constant support over many long years, as well as my former department (the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics) for nurturing me as a scientist.
It’s particularly pleasing to be elected in the same year as my husband, Myles Allen, who has been instrumental in facilitating my career. Thank you all, warmly, and keep up the great work!'
Irene and her team developed new approaches to uncover how the human brain constructs and modulates the perception of pain in health and disease. Pioneering the use of neuroimaging with novel paradigm designs, their work has given mechanistic insight into how injury, cognition, context and mood produce and influence the experience of pain in acute and chronic pain states. Their work conducted at WIN (formerly FMRIB) in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences has contributed to a fundamental change in how we view pain as an emergent experience that is not simply related to nociception and injury.
Her team has also transformed our understanding of how anaesthetics produce altered states of consciousness. Their work spans discovery through translation to industry, the clinic and society. Irene is currently President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).