Professor Irene Tracey holds the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Science and is Head of the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics and is Associate Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, England. Over the past 16 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 CNS using neuroimaging techniques. More recently, they have been investigating the neural bases of altered states of consciousness during anaesthesia.
Irene Tracey was born in 1966 and performed her undergraduate and graduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford where she graduated with First Class Honours, winning the Gibb’s Prize for joint top-First and was a Wellcome Prize Student/Senior Scholar for her graduate PhD work. She held a post-doctoral position at Harvard Medical School before returning to the UK to help found the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) Centre, which officially opened in 1998. Professor Tracey was tenured at Oxford in 2001 and became a Professor in 2005. The FMRIB Centre is now recognised as one of the world’s leading neuroimaging laboratories that integrates research into key neurological and neuroscientific problems with cutting-edge developments in MR physics and data analysis (http://www.fmrib.ox.ac.uk). The Centre has approximately 110 scientists and clinicians from a range of backgrounds and Professor Tracey was their Director from 2005 until 2015.
She has served and continues to serve on many national and international committees, including the International Association for the Study of Pain as an elected Councillor until 2014 (Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the Milan 2012 biannual world congress), Deputy Chair of the MRC’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Board until 2014, REF 2014 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience panel until 2014, is co-Chair of the Canadian CERC panel and a member of the Brain Prize selection committee. 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 is married to Professor Myles Allen, a climate physicist, and they have three irrepressible children: Colette (18), John (14) and Jim (9).