Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge

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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (PDN)
Chairman Bill Harris
Location Cambridge, United Kingdom
Affiliations University of Cambridge

The Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, (PDN) is a part of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Research in PDN focuses on three main areas: Cellular and Systems Physiology, Developmental and Reproductive Biology, and Neuroscience and is currently headed by Bill Harris (neuroscientist), The department was formed on the 1st January 2006, within the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Cambridge from the merger of the Departments of Anatomy and Physiology.[1] The department hosts the Centre for Trophoblast Research and has links with the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, and the Gurdon Institute.

Senior staff in the department[edit]

As of 2014 the department has 25 Professors, ten of whom are Fellows of the Royal Society (FRS).[1]

  1. Horace Barlow FRS
  2. Andrea Brand FRS
  3. Dennis Bray
  4. Sarah Bray
  5. Nick Brown
  6. Graham Burton
  7. Roger Carpenter
  8. Bill Colledge
  9. Andrew Crawford FRS
  10. Abigail Fowden
  11. Dino Giussani
  12. Roger Hardie FRS
  13. William A Harris FRS
  14. Christine Holt FRS
  15. Chris Huang
  16. Martin Johnson FRS
  17. Randall S Johnson
  18. Roger Keynes
  19. Jenny Morton
  20. Ole Paulson
  21. Angela Roberts
  22. Wolfram Schultz FRS
  23. Azim Surani FRS
  24. Roger C Thomas FRS
  25. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz


Anatomy was taught within the University since its foundation in about 1231. Initially, the teaching was of a theoretical nature based on readings of the classical texts of Galen, but the subject became established as an academic discipline in the early 16th century. In 1707 the first Professor of Anatomy, George Rolfe, was appointed. The tenth Professor of Anatomy, George Humphry, appointed in 1866, was a founder of the Journal of Anatomy and Physiology, and during the early tenure of his office, anatomy and physiology were taught together.

In 1870 Michael Foster was appointed as Praelector in Physiology. In 1878, the University supplied Foster with a purpose-built laboratory on the east side of Downing Street. Though Foster’s contributions to research were not enduring, he was an inspirational teacher and is the academic "great grandfather" to a large fraction of the world's current physiologists. In 1883 Foster became the first Professor of Physiology, Cambridge University.

Notable alumni[edit]

The Departments of Anatomy and Physiology (now fused to make PDN) and have been the home of many exceptional contributors to medical and physiological sciences and Nobel Prizes including


  1. ^ a b Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge
  2. ^ Hodgkin, Alan (1979). "Edgar Douglas Adrian, Baron Adrian of Cambridge. 30 November 1889-4 August 1977". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 25: 1–73. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1979.0002. PMID 11615790. 
  3. ^ Feldberg, W. S. (1970). "Henry Hallett Dale. 1875-1968". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 16: 77–174. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1970.0006. PMID 11615480. 
  4. ^ Huxley, S. A. (2000). "Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, O.M., K.B.E. 5 February 1914 -- 20 December 1998: Elected F.R.S. 1948". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 46: 219–210. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1999.0081. 
  5. ^ Goldman, Y. E.; Franzini-Armstrong, C.; Armstrong, C. M. (2012). "Andrew Fielding Huxley (1917–2012)". Nature 486 (7404): 474. doi:10.1038/486474a. 
  6. ^ Tsien, R (2010). "Interview with Roger Tsien: A glowing career. Interviewed by Harp Minhas". Integrative Biology 2 (1): 10–1. doi:10.1039/b926006b. PMID 20473407. 
  7. ^ Johnson, M. H. (2011). "Robert Edwards: The path to IVF". Reproductive BioMedicine Online 23 (2): 245–262. doi:10.1016/j.rbmo.2011.04.010. PMC 3171154. PMID 21680248.