Rosalind Ridley

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Ros Ridley
Rosalind Mary Ridley

(1949-10-21) 21 October 1949 (age 69)
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge Institute of Psychiatry, London
Spouse(s)Dr. Harry Baker
Scientific career
FieldsNeuropsychology Neurodegenerative Disease Prion disease
ThesisResponsiveness of units in part of inferotemporal and foveal prestriate cortex of the monkey during visual discrimination performance (1977)
Doctoral advisorGeorge Ettlinger

Ros Ridley, MA (Cantab), PhD (London), ScD (Cantab) (born 21 October 1949) retired as Head of the Medical Research Council (United Kingdom)'s Comparative Cognition Research Team in the Department of Psychology, Cambridge, UK, in 2005. She was a Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge from 1995 – 2010 and Vice-Principal from 2000-2005. She now holds the Privileges of a Fellow Emerita at Newnham College.[1]

Her current interests include art and painting.[2] She is a member of the Cambridge Drawing Society[3] and the Cambridge District Art Circle[4]

Education and career[edit]

Rosalind Mary Ridley was born in 1949 in Coventry, UK and educated at Barr's Hill Grammar School, Coventry and Newnham College, Cambridge University. After reading Natural Sciences in Cambridge, majoring in Psychology, she studied for her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, London under the supervision of Professor George Ettlinger. In 1977, she joined the Medical Research Council, working in the Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Research Centre, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, London and, in 1994, moved to the Department of Psychology, Cambridge University as Head of the Medical Research Council's Comparative Cognition External Scientific Staff Team.

Personal life[edit]

During the early part of 1981 Rosalind Ridley married her colleague Dr Harry Baker[5][6] with whom she worked for much of her scientific career.


Rosalind Ridley's research career started with an investigation into cortical mechanisms of visual perception[7] followed by the delineation of the cortical areas involved in somatosensory discrimination learning.[8] Her early career involved work on the role of dopamine in cognitive perseveration and motor stereotypy,[9] but her interests then extended to the role of the hippocampus in simple and conditional learning.[10] Much of her research effort was directed towards developing treatments for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.[11][12][13] She, and her research collaborators, demonstrated that acetylcholine was crucial for various types of memory formation[14] and established that transplantation of neural tissue into the brain could restore memory and learning ability.[15] She also maintained an interest in the genetics of neurodegenerative diseases.[16]

Rosalind Ridley was involved in early work on transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (subsequently known as prion disease), particularly in the recognition that individual cases of human prion disease could be sporadic, familial or acquired[17] and that familial cases were associated with mutations in the prion protein gene.[18] She demonstrated the transmissibility of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and scrapie to primates[19] and argued that the evidence for BSE and scrapie being acquired by maternal transmission was also compatible with genetic susceptibility to disease.[20] In experiments using data extending over 25 years, she demonstrated that the amyloid proteins found in Alzheimer's disease were self-assembling and experimentally transmissible, establishing a link in pathogenesis between prion diseases and the other neurodegenerative proteinopathies[21]


Fatal Protein. The story of CJD, BSE and other prion diseases (1998) Ridley, R. M. and Baker, H. F. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0 19 852435 8[22]

Prion Diseases (1996) Baker, H. F. and Ridley, R. M. Eds. Humana Press Inc., Totowa, New Jersey. ISBN 0896033422[23]

Peter Pan and the Mind of J. M. Barrie. An Exploration of Cognition and Consciousness (2016) Ridley, R. M. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4438-9107-3[24]

Painting collections[edit]

Flower Market 2013

Seeing 2008 Blurb Bookstore[25]

Percepts 2010 Blurb Bookstore[26]

Making Images 2012 Blurb Bookstore[27]

Just Looking 2016 Blurb Bookstore[28]

Noticing 2018 Blurb Bookstore[29]


  1. ^ "Newnham College".
  2. ^ "Ros Ridley's paintings". Flickr.
  3. ^ "Cambridge Drawing Society".
  4. ^ "Cambridge District Art Circle".
  5. ^ "Harry Baker's web page".
  6. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Perceptual fading of a stabilized cortical image, Nature 1971". ResearchGate.
  8. ^ "Tactile and visuo-spatial discrimination performance in the monkey, Brain Research 1976". ResearchGate.
  9. ^ "An involvement of dopamine in higher order choice mechanisms in the monkey, Psychopharmacology 1981". ResearchGate.
  10. ^ "Learning and memory impairments following lesion of the hippocampus, Neuroscience 1995". ResearchGate.
  11. ^ "5-HT1A antagonist ameliorates cognitive impairment, Psychopharmacology 1996". ResearchGate.
  12. ^ "neurotrophic factor delivery provides neuroprotection, J Neuroscience 2005". ResearchGate.
  13. ^ "Integration of striatal allografts in a primate model of Huntington's disease, Nature Medicine 1998". ResearchGate.
  14. ^ "Learning impaired following cholinergic lesions, Brain Research 1989". ResearchGate.
  15. ^ "Cell grafts restore learning, Brain 1999". ResearchGate.
  16. ^ "Anticipation in Huntington's Disease, J Medical Genetics 1988". ResearchGate.
  17. ^ "Transmissible and non-transmissible dementia, Psychological Medicine 1986". ResearchGate.
  18. ^ "Transmission of an autosomal dominant spongiform encephalopathy, British Medical Journal 1985". ResearchGate.
  19. ^ "Transmission of BSE and scrapie, Veterinary Record 1993". ResearchGate.
  20. ^ "The myth of maternal transmission, British Medical Journal 1995". ResearchGate.
  21. ^ "Very long term studies, J Neural Transmission 2006". ResearchGate.
  22. ^ "Fatal Protein". Google Books.
  23. ^ "Prion Diseases". Google Books.
  24. ^ "Peter Pan and the Mind of J. M. Barrie". Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  25. ^ "Seeing". Blurb Bookstore.
  26. ^ "Percepts". Blurb Bookstore.
  27. ^ "Making images". Blurb Bookstore.
  28. ^ "Just Looking". Blurb Bookstore.
  29. ^ "Noticing". Blurb Bookstore.

External links[edit]