Professor Rothwell is a very distinguished clinical neurologist whose research into cerebrovascular disease has led to major changes in the prevention of stroke, particularly after TIAs and minor strokes. His research interests also include hypertension, the risks and benefits of aspirin, and the more general theme of how best to apply the results of clinical trials and other forms of research to clinical decisions with individual patients in routine clinical practice. He was appointed as Clinical Lecturer in Oxford in 1996, was awarded an MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship in 2000, and was given the title of Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Oxford in 2004.
He founded the Stroke Prevention Research Unit in 2000, which now has over 30 members. He has since been awarded over £15 million in grant income as PI, has successfully supervised 25 doctoral students, and has published over 300 scientific papers, including 50 in the Lancet and Lancet Neurology. His research has had a major influence across the world on the prevention of stroke in routine clinical practice. This was recognized in his election as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2008 and by the award of their Foulkes Foundation Medal in 2009. The citation for the Foulkes Medal stated that his ‘contribution to medical scientific knowledge during his relatively short research career has been remarkable and there can be few more inspirational demonstrations of the impacts of research on clinical practice’. The citation goes on to say that his recent findings on the link between variability in blood pressure and risk of stroke and dementia, and the effects of aspirin on risks of cancer and infection, promise to have a similar impact.
He was also awarded the British Medical Journal Inaugural Award for Outstanding Achievement in Evidence-based Healthcare in 2009, in particular recognition of his work demonstrating the need for urgent investigation and treatment of patients with TIA and minor stroke. More recently he has received the Presidents Biennial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research from the World Stroke Organisation (2010), a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (2011), the Biemond Lectureship (Dutch Neurological Society, 2012), the Anthony Dawson Lectureship (St Bartholomew’s Hospital, 2012) and the Kinmonth Medal (Royal College of Surgeons, 2012) for his work on the role of carotid surgery in prevention of stroke.
He will be elected to a professorial fellowship at St Edmund Hall.