Eleanor Maguire

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Eleanor Maguire
Born Eleanor Anne Maguire
(1970-03-27) 27 March 1970 (age 46)[1]
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Alma mater University College Dublin
University of Wales, Swansea
Thesis Real-world spatial memory following temporal-lobe surgery in humans (1994)
Doctoral students
Notable awards

Eleanor Anne Maguire, FMedSci FRS (born 27 March 1970) is an Irish neuroscientist and academic. Since 2007, she has been Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London.[3][4][5][6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Maguire was born on 27 March 1970 in Dublin, Ireland.[8] She studied psychology at University College Dublin and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons) degree in 1990.[8] She studied cClinical and experimental neuropsychology at University of Wales, Swansea and graduated with a Master of Science degree in 1991.[7][8] She undertook her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at University College Dublin,[9][10] Ireland, where she first became interested in the neural basis of memory while working with patients as a neuropsychologist at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.[11] She completed her PhD in 1994,[9] and her doctoral thesis was titled "Real-world spatial memory following temporal-lobe surgery in humans".[12]


Maguire is a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow [13] and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London,[14] UK, where she is also the Deputy Head. Maguire heads the Memory and Space research laboratory at the Centre. In addition, she is an honorary member of the Department of Neuropsychology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London.

Maguire and others have noted that a distributed set of brain regions supports human episodic (autobiographical) memory, defined as the memory for personal everyday events,[15] and that this brain network overlaps considerably with that supporting navigation in large-scale space and other diverse cognitive functions such as imagination and thinking about the future.[16] In her research Maguire seeks to place episodic memory in the context of wider cognition so as to understand how common brain areas, and possibly common processes, support such disparate functions. In this way she hopes to gain novel and fundamental insights into the mechanisms that are involved.[14]

Her team uses standard whole brain and high resolution structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging in conjunction with behavioural testing and neuropsychological examination of amnesic patients in order to pursue their aims. They mainly employ ecologically valid or 'real life' experimental paradigms to examine brain-behaviour relationships; examples include using virtual reality to examine navigation,[17][18] investigating autobiographical memories of people’s personal past experiences, and their ability to imagine fictitious and future scenes and events. Perhaps the most famous of these is her series of studies on London taxi drivers,[19][20][21] where she documented changes in hippocampal structure associated with acquiring the knowledge of London’s layout. A redistribution of grey matter was indicated in London Taxi Drivers compared to controls. This work on hippocampal plasticity not only interested scientists, but also engaged the public and media world-wide.

This is also true of her other work such as that showing that patients with amnesia cannot imagine the future [22] which several years ago was rated as one of the scientific breakthroughs of the year;[23] and her other studies demonstrating that it is possible to decode people’s memories from the pattern of fMRI activity in the hippocampus.[24][25]

Maguire’s interest is mainly focused on the hippocampus, a brain structure known to be crucial for learning and memory, whilst also exploring the roles of the parahippocampal cortex, the retrosplenial cortex and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.[25][25][26][27][28]

Public engagement[edit]

Besides her direct scientific activities, Maguire and her research group have an active public engagement agenda, involving public lectures, school visits and demonstrations, TV, radio and internet contributions, and collaborations with several artists, encouraging people of all ages to think about the value of science in their everyday lives. In February 2014, Maguire delivered a Friday Evening Discourse at The Royal Institution.[29]

Honours and awards[edit]

Maguire has won a number of prizes for outstanding contributions to science, including:

She was also named as one of ‘Twenty Europeans who have changed our lives’ [35] when The European Union launched a new science and innovation initiative several years ago.

In 2011, Maguire was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) [36] and, in 2016, a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).[37] She has been awarded two Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowships.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Maguire's entry in Who's Who lists her recreations as "Comedy lover, long-suffering supporter of Crystal Palace Football Club, getting lost."[1]


  1. ^ a b "MAGUIRE, Prof. Eleanor Anne". Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Hassabis, Demis (2009). Neural processes underpinning episodic memory (PhD thesis). University College London. 
  3. ^ Maguire, E. A. (2012). "Eleanor A. Maguire". Current Biology. 22 (24): R1025–R1027. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.10.007. PMID 23387005. 
  4. ^ Eleanor Maguire's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  5. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  6. ^ "Eleanor Maguire Search Results". Google Scholar. Retrieved 2015-04-19. 
  7. ^ a b c "Iris View Profile". iris.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  8. ^ a b c "MAGUIRE, Prof. Eleanor Anne". Who's Who 2016. Oxford University Press. November 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Maguire, Eleanor (1994). Real-world spatial memory following temporal-lobe surgery in humans (PhD thesis). University College Dublin. 
  10. ^ Spiers, H. J. (2001). "Unilateral temporal lobectomy patients show lateralized topographical and episodic memory deficits in a virtual town". Brain. 124 (12): 2476–2489. doi:10.1093/brain/124.12.2476. 
  11. ^ "Eleanor Maguire" (PDF). Agenda Ciudadana de Ciencia e Innovacion. Retrieved 2015-04-19. 
  12. ^ "Real-world spatial memory following temporal-lobe surgery in humans". ProQuest. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "Principal Research Fellows". Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Memory & Space: Professor Eleanor Maguire FMedSci". Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  15. ^ Maguire, E. A. (2001). "Neuroimaging studies of autobiographical event memory". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 356 (1413): 1441–1451. doi:10.1098/rstb.2001.0944. 
  16. ^ Hassabis, D.; Maguire, E. A. (2007). "Deconstructing episodic memory with construction". Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 11 (7): 299–306. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2007.05.001. PMID 17548229. 
  17. ^ Maguire, E. A.; Burgess, N.; Donnett, J. G.; Frackowiak, R. S.; Frith, C. D.; O'Keefe, J. (1998). "Knowing Where and Getting There: A Human Navigation Network". Science. 280 (5365): 921–924. Bibcode:1998Sci...280..921M. doi:10.1126/science.280.5365.921. PMID 9572740. 
  18. ^ Spiers, H. J.; Maguire, E. A. (2006). "Thoughts, behaviour, and brain dynamics during navigation in the real world". NeuroImage. 31 (4): 1826–1840. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.01.037. PMID 16584892. 
  19. ^ Maguire, E. A.; Frackowiak, R. S.; Frith, C. D. (1997). "Recalling routes around london: Activation of the right hippocampus in taxi drivers". The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 17 (18): 7103–7110. PMID 9278544. 
  20. ^ Woollett, K.; Maguire, E. A. (2011). "Acquiring "the Knowledge" of London's Layout Drives Structural Brain Changes". Current Biology. 21 (24): 2109–2114. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.018. PMC 3268356free to read. PMID 22169537. 
  21. ^ Maguire, E. A.; Gadian, D. G.; Johnsrude, I. S.; Good, C. D.; Ashburner, J.; Frackowiak, R. S. J.; Frith, C. D. (2000). "Navigation-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 97 (8): 4398–4403. Bibcode:2000PNAS...97.4398M. doi:10.1073/pnas.070039597. PMC 18253free to read. PMID 10716738. 
  22. ^ Hassabis, D.; Kumaran, D.; Vann, S. D.; Maguire, E. A. (2007). "Patients with hippocampal amnesia cannot imagine new experiences" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (5): 1726–31. Bibcode:2007PNAS..104.1726H. doi:10.1073/pnas.0610561104. PMC 1773058free to read. PMID 17229836. 
  23. ^ The News Staff (2007). "BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR: The Runners-Up". Science. 318 (5858): 1844a–. doi:10.1126/science.318.5858.1844a. 
  24. ^ Chadwick, M. J.; Hassabis, D.; Weiskopf, N.; Maguire, E. A. (2010). "Decoding Individual Episodic Memory Traces in the Human Hippocampus". Current Biology. 20 (6): 544–547. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.053. PMC 2849012free to read. PMID 20226665. 
  25. ^ a b c Bonnici, H. M.; Chadwick, M. J.; Lutti, A.; Hassabis, D.; Weiskopf, N.; Maguire, E. A. (2012). "Detecting Representations of Recent and Remote Autobiographical Memories in vmPFC and Hippocampus". Journal of Neuroscience. 32 (47): 16982–16991. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2475-12.2012. PMC 3507449free to read. PMID 23175849. 
  26. ^ Zeidman, P.; Mullally, S. A. L.; Schwarzkopf, D. S.; Maguire, E. A. (2012). "Exploring the parahippocampal cortex response to high and low spatial frequency spaces". NeuroReport. 23 (8): 503–507. doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e328353766a. PMC 3378656free to read. PMID 22473293. 
  27. ^ Mullally, S. A. L.; Intraub, H.; Maguire, E. A. (2012). "Attenuated Boundary Extension Produces a Paradoxical Memory Advantage in Amnesic Patients". Current Biology. 22 (4): 261–268. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.01.001. PMC 3315012free to read. PMID 22264610. 
  28. ^ Auger, S. D.; Mullally, S. A. L.; Maguire, E. A. (2012). Baker, Chris I, ed. "Retrosplenial Cortex Codes for Permanent Landmarks". PLoS ONE. 7 (8): e43620. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...743620A. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043620. PMC 3422332free to read. PMID 22912894. 
  29. ^ "The Neuroscience of Memory: Friday Evening Discourse with Eleanor Maguire". Ri Channel - The Royal Institution. 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-19. 
  30. ^ "Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize". Retrieved 2015-06-22. 
  31. ^ "About the YIA Awards". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  32. ^ "Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award previous winners". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  33. ^ "Feldberg Foundation Recent British winners". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  34. ^ "Professor Maguire awarded Kemali prize". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  35. ^ "Agenda Ciudadana de Ciencia e Innovación". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  36. ^ "New Academy of Medical Sciences Fellows". Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  37. ^ "Eleanor Maguire". Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  38. ^ "Senior Research Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Science". Retrieved 2012-11-02.