Main content

Nancy Rothwell

Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell on her ground-breaking work on obesity, her discovery of an experimental treatment for stroke, and her leadership of the UK's largest university.

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.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Tue 7 May 2013 21:30


  • Tue 7 May 2013 09:00
  • Tue 7 May 2013 21:30

Is your mind a machine?

Is your mind a machine?

Daniel Dennett thinks so. Here is what we learned from his Life Scientific.