Susan Greenfield

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Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE

Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford and director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain since 1998.

Greenfield's primary research is in Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease and she co-founded a Oxford University spin-off company specialising in novel approaches to neurodegeneration called Synaptica.

Greenfield was an undergraduate at St Hilda's College, Oxford and subsequently took a DPhil in the University Department of Pharmacology. She has held fellowships in the Department of Physiology, Oxford; the College de France, Paris and NYU Medical Center, New York. In 1985 she was appointed University Lecturer in Synaptic Pharmacology and Fellow and Tutor in Medicine, Lincoln College. Subsequently she has also held a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Institute of Neuroscience, La Jolla, USA, and was the 1996 Visiting Distinguished Scholar, Queens University, Belfast. The title of Professor of Pharmacology was conferred in 1996. In 1997 she was awarded an Honorary DSc by Oxford Brookes University, and has received Honorary DSc degrees, in 1998, from the University of St Andrew's and Exeter University.

Greenfield wrote Journey to the Centres of the Mind: Toward a Science of Consciousness (1995) and Private Life of the Brain (2000).  She also wrote The Human Brain: A Guided Tour (1997). She wrote and presented Brain Story, broadcast by the BBC in 2000.

In 1998 she was awarded the Michael Faraday medal by the Royal Society and in 1999 was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians.

She is also involved in science policy and has given a consultative seminar to the Prime Minister on the future of science in the UK. She was awarded the CBE in the Millennium New Year’s Honour’s List and Life Peerage (non-political) in 2001.

She was an advisor to the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) when they were developing a code of practice for science and health reporting.

Greenfield is very outspoken on the issue of "women in science" [1] and is a staunch opponent of the legalisation of cannabis [2]

Research interests

  • Measurement of dopamine release ‘on-line’ from brain slices using fast scan cyclic voltammetry.
  • Real time monitoring of release of a protein from the brain in vivo
  • Electrophysiological recording from brain slices in vitro and substantia nigra in vivo in both physiological and pathological conditions
  • Study of mechanisms underlying regeneration and development of the pathway lost in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's disease, using organotypic co-cultures
  • Organotypic tissue culture

Positions held

  • Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain
  • Fullerian Professor of Physiology
  • Senior Research Fellow, Lincoln College
  • Honorary Fellow, St. Hilda's College
  • Gresham Chair of Physic (from 1996-1999)


  • Trustees, Bibliotheca Alexandria, accessed February 10, 2011.