Carol V. Robinson

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Carol Robinson
Born Carol Vivien Bradley
(1956-04-10) 10 April 1956 (age 58)[1]
Nationality UK
Alma mater
Thesis Structural studies on bioactive organic compounds (1982)
Notable awards

Dame Carol Vivien Robinson, DBE, FRS[8] FMedSci (née Bradley, born 10 April 1956[1]) is a distinguished British chemist. She is a Royal Society Research Professor at the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford, as well as the Dr Lee's Professor of Chemistry Elect. She was previously Professor of Mass Spectrometry at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Cambridge.[7][9][10][11]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Kent, the daughter of Denis E Bradley by his marriage to Lillian Holder,[12][13] Carol Vivien Bradley left school at 16 and began her career as a lab technician in Sandwich, Kent with Pfizer, where she began working with the then novel technique of mass spectrometry.

Her potential was spotted, and she gained further qualifications at evening classes and day release from her job at Pfizer. After earning her degree, she left Pfizer and studied for a Master of Science degree at the University of Swansea, followed by a PhD at the University of Cambridge,[14] which she completed in just two years, rather than the more usual three.[9]


After a postdoctoral training fellowship at the University of Bristol, she took eight years out to raise a family. She returned to science by taking up a junior position in the mass spectrometry unit at the University of Oxford, where she began analysing protein folding.[15] She became the first female Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford in 1999. In 2001, she returned to Cambridge to take up a professorship in the Department of Chemistry, becoming this department's first female professor. She took up her current position in Oxford in 2009.[16]

Awards and honours[edit]

Robinson was awarded the American Society for Mass Spectrometry's Biemann Medal in 2003, and the Christian B. Anfinsen Award in 2008. In 2004 the Royal Society awarded her both a Fellowship (FRS)[8] and the Rosalind Franklin Award.[17][18] In 2010 she received the Davy Medal "for her ground-breaking and novel use of mass spectrometry for the characterisation of large protein complexes".[19][20] Her nomination for the Royal Society reads:

In 2011 she was given the Interdisciplinary Prize by the Royal Society of Chemistry for "development of a new area of research, gas-phase structural biology, using highly refined mass spectrometry techniques." [21] She has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Kent, the University of York, and the University of Bristol.[22]

She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to science and industry.[23]


  1. ^ a b c "ROBINSON, Dame Carol Vivien". Who's Who 2014. Who's Who (April 2014 online ed.). A & C Black an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 22 July 2014. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Tan, X; Calderon-Villalobos, L. I.; Sharon, M; Zheng, C; Robinson, C. V.; Estelle, M; Zheng, N (2007). "Mechanism of auxin perception by the TIR1 ubiquitin ligase". Nature 446 (7136): 640–5. doi:10.1038/nature05731. PMID 17410169. 
  3. ^ Booth, D. R.; Sunde, M; Bellotti, V; Robinson, C. V.; Hutchinson, W. L.; Fraser, P. E.; Hawkins, P. N.; Dobson, C. M.; Radford, S. E.; Blake, C. C.; Pepys, M. B. (1997). "Instability, unfolding and aggregation of human lysozyme variants underlying amyloid fibrillogenesis". Nature 385 (6619): 787–93. doi:10.1038/385787a0. PMID 9039909. 
  4. ^ Jiménez, J. L.; Nettleton, E. J.; Bouchard, M; Robinson, C. V.; Dobson, C. M.; Saibil, H. R. (2002). "The protofilament structure of insulin amyloid fibrils". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99 (14): 9196–201. doi:10.1073/pnas.142459399. PMC 123117. PMID 12093917. 
  5. ^ Pepys, M. B.; Hirschfield, G. M.; Tennent, G. A.; Gallimore, J.; Kahan, M. C.; Bellotti, V.; Hawkins, P. N.; Myers, R. M.; Smith, M. D.; Polara, A.; Cobb, A. J. A.; Ley, S. V.; Aquilina, J.; Robinson, C. V.; Sharif, I.; Gray, G. A.; Sabin, C. A.; Jenvey, M. C.; Kolstoe, S. E.; Thompson, D.; Wood, S. P. (2006). "Targeting C-reactive protein for the treatment of cardiovascular disease". Nature 440 (7088): 1217–1221. Bibcode:2006Natur.440.1217P. doi:10.1038/nature04672. PMID 16642000. 
  6. ^ Miranker, A; Robinson, C. V.; Radford, S. E.; Aplin, R. T.; Dobson, C. M. (1993). "Detection of transient protein folding populations by mass spectrometry". Science 262 (5135): 896–900. doi:10.1126/science.8235611. PMID 8235611. 
  7. ^ a b Pain, Elisabeth (2011). "An Interview with Carol Robinson". Science. doi:10.1126/science.caredit.a1100023. 
  8. ^ a b c d "EC/2004/37: Robinson, Carol Vivien". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2014-07-23. 
  9. ^ a b Carol Robinson interviewed by Jim Al-Khalili on The Life Scientific, 2014-07-22 BBC Radio 4
  10. ^ Robinson, C. V. (2011). "Women in science: In pursuit of female chemists". Nature 476 (7360): 273–5. doi:10.1038/476273a. PMID 21850083. 
  11. ^ Carol V. Robinson from the Scopus bibliographic database.
  12. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ Bradley, Carol Vivien (1982). Structural studies on bioactive organic compounds (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. 
  15. ^ Crace, John (22 June 2004). "Carol Robinson: Society doyenne". The Guardian. 
  16. ^ "Profile, Oxford University Chemistry Department". 
  17. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows 1660-2007". London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  18. ^ "Finding the right balance: from rare gases to ribosomes". 
  19. ^ "The Davy Medal (1877)". The Royal Society. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  20. ^ Focus in Honor of Carol V. Robinson, 2003 Biemann Medal Awardee; accessed 18 March 2014.
  21. ^ "Interdisciplinary Prize 2011 Winner". 
  22. ^ Robinson webpage at Oxford University,; accessed 18 March 2014.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60367. p. 7. 29 December 2012.