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Nancy Rothwell

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 07 May 2013

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell is not only one of the UK's leading brain scientists and physiologists; for the last three years Nancy Rothwell has also run the country's largest university - as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester.

When Nancy Rothwell is not making decisions about the university's £800 million annual budget and 50,000 students and staff, she oversees a laboratory of researchers developing and trialling an experimental treatment to prevent death and disability caused by stroke. Given that someone in the UK will have a stroke every five minutes, that adds up to a lot of people who might end up benefitting from Nancy Rothwell's life in science.

Nancy did not start her career working on the brain. As a young scientist, in 1970s, she made her reputation with original and high profile research into the causes of obesity, and the role of a tissue type known as brown fat. But in the early 1990s, a shock finding from an experiment stopped her in her tracks. It revealed something new and profound about the brain - a classic case of serendipity in science and a result that redirected Nancy Rothwell's research into the new and challenging field of neuroscience.

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