Nancy Rothwell

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Dame Nancy Rothwell
Born Nancy Jane Rothwell
(1955-10-02) 2 October 1955 (age 60)[1]
Tarleton, Lancashire
Nationality British
Alma mater
Thesis Physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of energy balance (1979)
Doctoral advisor Mike J. Stock[2][5]
Doctoral students
Known for
Influences Bridget Ogilvie[20]
Ian MacDonald[5][21]
Derek Miller[5]
Notable awards
from the BBC programme The Life Scientific, 2013-07-07[24]

Dame Nancy Jane Rothwell DBE DL FRS FMedSci FBPhS (born 2 October 1955)[25] is a British physiologist, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester since July 2010,[26] having been Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor since January 2010. Rothwell is also a director of pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca,[27] co-chair of the Council for Science and Technology and past President of the Royal Society of Biology.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34]


Rothwell was born in Tarleton, a village near Preston, Lancashire. She was educated at Penwortham Girls’ Grammar School and then went to college where she took four A-levels in maths, physics, chemistry and art.[5] She enrolled at the University of London and obtained a first class degree in physiology (1976) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree (1979)[35] from Queen Elizabeth College, now part of King's College, London. Rothwell was later was awarded a Doctor of Science degree (1987) by King's College London and an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Bath in 2009.


Rothwell's early research[2][36][37][38] identified mechanisms of energy balance regulation, obesity and cachexia.[39] In 1984 she was awarded a Royal Society Research Fellowship and relocated to Manchester in 1987 and numerous grants by the BBSRC.[40] She was appointed to a chair in physiology in 1994, then a Medical Research Council research chair in 1998. Her current research focusses on the role of inflammation in brain disease and has identified the role of the cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-1)[41] in diverse forms of brain injury.[42][43] Her studies have begun to elucidate the mechanisms regulating IL-1 release and its action and her group have conducted the first early clinical trial of an IL-1 inhibitor in strokes. She served as president of the British Neuroscience Association and a council member of Medical Research Council (MRC).


From October 2004 Rothwell was vice-president for research of the university.[44][45] In 2010 she was overseeing a research group of about 20 scientists, with significant external funding and was announced to succeed Alan Gilbert as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester on 1 July 2010. She is a trustee of Cancer Research UK, the Campaign for Medical Progress, a council member of BBSRC, chair of the Research Defence Society and the Wellcome Trust's Public Engagement Strategy Committee and a non-executive director of AstraZeneca. In 1998 she delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on The Secrets of Life, televised by the BBC.[46]

In January 2010, Rothwell was appointed deputy president and deputy vice-chancellor. Until Alan Gilbert retired she was acting president due to his sick leave. On 21 June 2010, she was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester. She assumed her post on 1 July 2010, succeeding Alan Gilbert, who had retired after nearly six years. She became the first woman to lead the University of Manchester or either of its two predecessor institutions. Commenting on her appointment, she said: "I am honoured and delighted to be invited to lead the University at this exciting time. I am determined to maintain the strategic focus that we have developed over the past six years and to work closely with colleagues to identify new priorities and opportunities for the University in the very challenging external environment that we will face over the next few years."[citation needed]

The chairman of the Appointment Panel and Chairman-elect of the university's board of governors, Anil Ruia, said: "Dame Nancy will bring her own distinctive strengths, perspective and style to the role of President and Vice-Chancellor which will enable the University to build upon the remarkable progress that we have made under Professor Alan Gilbert's leadership."[citation needed] In 2009 Rothwell become the first president of the Society of Biology, now the Royal Society of Biology.

Awards and honours[edit]

In February 2013 she was assessed as the 15th most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[47][48] In May 2013 she was the subject of BBC Radio 4's The Life Scientific and was interviewed about her life and work by Jim Al-Khalili.[5] Rothwell was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005, Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2004, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.[1] In 2003 she won the prestigious Pfizer Research Prize.[49][50] Her nomination for the Royal Society reads:


  1. ^ a b c ROTHWELL, Dame Nancy (Jane). Who's Who 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Rothwell, N.; Stock, M. (1979). "A role for brown adipose tissue in diet-induced thermogenesis". Nature 281 (5726): 31–35. doi:10.1038/281031a0. PMID 551265. 
  3. ^ a b Selvarajah, J.; Scott, M.; Stivaros, S.; Hulme, S.; Georgiou, R.; Rothwell, N.; Tyrrell, P.; Jackson, A. (2008). "Potential surrogate markers of cerebral microvascular angiopathy in asymptomatic subjects at risk of stroke". European Radiology 19 (4): 1011–1018. doi:10.1007/s00330-008-1202-8. PMID 18987865. 
  4. ^ a b Selvarajah, J. R.; Smith, C. J.; Hulme, S.; Georgiou, R.; Sherrington, C.; Staniland, J.; Illingworth, K. J.; Jury, F.; Payton, A.; Ollier, W. E.; Vail, A.; Rothwell, N. J.; Hopkins, S. J.; Tyrrell, P. J. (2011). "Does inflammation predispose to recurrent vascular events after recent transient ischaemic attack and minor stroke? The North West of England transient ischaemic attack and minor stroke (NORTHSTAR) study". International Journal of Stroke 6 (3): 187–194. doi:10.1111/j.1747-4949.2010.00561.x. PMID 21557802. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "The Life Scientific; Nancy Rothwell". Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  6. ^ Galea, James (2009). Pharmacokinetics of intravenous Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in subarachnoid haemorrhage (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. 
  7. ^ Galea, J.; Ogungbenro, K.; Hulme, S.; Greenhalgh, A.; Aarons, L.; Scarth, S.; Hutchinson, P.; Grainger, S.; King, A.; Hopkins, S. J.; Rothwell, N.; Tyrrell, P. (2010). "Intravenous anakinra can achieve experimentally effective concentrations in the central nervous system within a therapeutic time window: Results of a dose-ranging study". Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 31 (2): 439–447. doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2010.103. PMC 3049499. PMID 20628399. 
  8. ^ Drake, Caroline (2012). Systemic inflammation and its impact on the brain (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. 
  9. ^ Greenhalgh, Andrew (2011). Actions of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in cerebral ischaemia (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. 
  10. ^ Leow-Dyke, Sophie (2012). Inflammatory activation of the cerebrovascular endothelium in response to oxygen-glucose deprivation (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. 
  11. ^ Nguyen, Loan (2010). The role of interleukin-1 receptors in brain cell signalling (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. 
  12. ^ Selvarajah, Johann Rajinder, (2007). Plasma and genetic inflammatory markers as prognostic indicators in non-disabling cerebrovascular disease (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. 
  13. ^ Small, Benjamin Gavin (2011). The chemical and computational biology of inflammation (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. 
  14. ^ Small, B. G.; McColl, B. W.; Allmendinger, R; Pahle, J; López-Castejón, G; Rothwell, N. J.; Knowles, J; Mendes, P; Brough, D; Kell, D. B. (2011). "Efficient discovery of anti-inflammatory small-molecule combinations using evolutionary computing". Nature Chemical Biology 7 (12): 902–8. doi:10.1038/nchembio.689. PMC 3223407. PMID 22020553. 
  15. ^ Tsakiri, Niki (2007). Identification of interleukin-1 actions on neurones: characterisation of signalling pathways/receptors (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. [dead link]
  16. ^ Tsakiri, N.; Kimber, I.; Rothwell, N. J.; Pinteaux, E. (2008). "Differential effects of interleukin-1 alpha and beta on interleukin-6 and chemokine synthesis in neurones". Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 38 (2): 259–265. doi:10.1016/j.mcn.2008.02.015. PMID 18434191. 
  17. ^ Tsakiri, N.; Kimber, I.; Rothwell, N. J.; Pinteaux, E. (2008). "Interleukin-1-induced interleukin-6 synthesis is mediated by the neutral sphingomyelinase/Src kinase pathway in neurones". British Journal of Pharmacology 153 (4): 775–783. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707610. PMC 2259207. PMID 18059318. 
  18. ^ Tsakiri, N.; Kimber, I.; Rothwell, N. J.; Pinteaux, E. (2008). "Mechanisms of interleukin-6 synthesis and release induced by interleukin-1 and cell depolarisation in neurones". Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 37 (1): 110–118. doi:10.1016/j.mcn.2007.09.001. PMID 17933551. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ McCann, Kate (23 April 2013). "Dame Nancy Rothwell: 'Break the rules and see what happens' | Women in Leadership | Guardian Professional". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 2013-07-10. 
  21. ^ MacDonald, I. A.; Rothwell, N. J.; Stock, M. J. (1976). "Lipolytic and lipogenic activities of adipose tissue during spontaneous fat depletion and repletion proceedings". The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 35 (3): 129A–130A. PMID 1028061. 
  22. ^ a b "Nancy Jane Rothwell: Certificate of election EC/2004/38". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2014-03-06. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Nancy Rothwell". The Life Scientific. 2013-05-07. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  25. ^ Who's Who in Greater Manchester; golden jubilee edition. Manchester: Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society, 2002; p. 313
  26. ^ New President and Vice-Chancellor for the University of Manchester
  27. ^ "Dame Rothwell". Forbes. 
  28. ^ "As it happened: Q&A with Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell > The Mancunion". Archived from the original on 2013-05-16. 
  29. ^ Brown, Matthew (September 2004) "A Society Fellow", in: AUTlook. Association of University Teachers; no. 231, pp. 24-25.
  30. ^ "The New Statesman Interview: Nancy Rothwell, vice-chancellor, Manchester University". 
  31. ^ "Society of Biology welcomes new President". 
  32. ^ Peer-reviewed publications by Nancy Rothwell (in PubMed)
  33. ^ Nancy Rothwell's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier.
  34. ^ Nancy Rothwell's publications in Google Scholar
  35. ^ Rothwell, Nancy Jane (1979). Physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of energy balance (PhD thesis). Kings College London. 
  36. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  37. ^ Hopkins, S.; Rothwell, N. (1995). "Cytokines and the nervous system. I: Expression and recognition". Trends in neurosciences 18 (2): 83–88. doi:10.1016/0166-2236(95)93881-W. PMID 7537419. 
  38. ^ Rothwell, N.; Hopkins, S. (1995). "Cytokines and the nervous system II: Actions and mechanisms of action". Trends in neurosciences 18 (3): 130–136. doi:10.1016/0166-2236(95)93890-A. PMID 7754524. 
  39. ^ Roe, S. Y.; Cooper, A. L.; Morris, I. D.; Rothwell, N. J. (1997). "Involvement of prostaglandins in cachexia induced by T-cell leukemia in the rat". Metabolism: clinical and experimental 46 (4): 359–365. doi:10.1016/S0026-0495(97)90047-0. PMID 9109835. 
  40. ^ "Grants awarded to Nancy Rothwell by the BBSRC". 
  41. ^ Relton, J. K.; Rothwell, N. J. (1992). "Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist inhibits ischaemic and excitotoxic neuronal damage in the rat". Brain Research Bulletin 29 (2): 243–246. doi:10.1016/0361-9230(92)90033-T. PMID 1388088. 
  42. ^ Allan, S. M.; Rothwell, N. J. (2001). "Cytokines and acute neurodegeneration". Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2 (10): 734–744. doi:10.1038/35094583. PMID 11584311. 
  43. ^ Denes, A.; Wilkinson, F.; Bigger, B.; Chu, M.; Rothwell, N. J.; Allan, S. M. (2013). "Central and haematopoietic interleukin-1 both contribute to ischaemic brain injury in mice". Disease Models & Mechanisms 6 (4): 1043–1048. doi:10.1242/dmm.011601. PMID 23519030. 
  44. ^ Rothwell, Nancy (2002). Who wants to be a scientist?: choosing science as a career. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52092-4. 
  45. ^ Cripps, Elizabeth. "Manchester voices--Nancy Rothwell". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  46. ^ Christmas Lectures 1998: Nancy Rothwell - Times of our lives
  47. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour - The Power List 2013". 
  48. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour, Woman's Hour Power List - Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell". 
  49. ^ Royal Society Pfizer Award
  50. ^ "Nancy Rothwell: Her own boss | Education | The Guardian: The head of research at the UK's biggest university tells Donald MacLeod she is unfazed by the task ahead, 2006-03-28". London. 28 March 2006. Archived from the original on 2013-07-10. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Alan Gilbert
Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Manchester
Preceded by
President of the Royal Society of Biology
Succeeded by
Jean Thomas