Professor Irene Tracey has been awarded the British Prize from the Feldberg Foundation for 2017.
Irene holds the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Science and is Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford. Over the past 18 years her personal 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, members of her team have been investigating the neural bases of altered states of consciousness induced by anaesthetic agents, identifying novel and highly individualised markers indicating when subjects lose perception. They have pioneered the development of novel paradigms and methods for understanding pain mechanisms in humans, including spinal cord imaging, imaging tonic neural states and pharmacological imaging to aid analgesic drug discovery. Their work has radically altered how pain is viewed and contributed to a better understanding of the importance of the brain in altering and modulating the subjective pain experience.
Irene has served, and continues to serve, on many national and international committees in areas spanning pain, neuroscience, academia and science in general. She is a passionate advocate for women in science and is involved in many mentorship schemes to support the development of young career researchers. 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. She has recently been elected to the Council of the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom.