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This week framed photographs of 16 women who have contributed to the success of DPAG were displayed on the main stairwell of the Sherrington Building as part of our 2021 Centenary project.

To mark the centenary of women being awarded degrees at Oxford University, DPAG is celebrating some of the women who have contributed to the success of the Department, and its predecessor departments, over the last century.

In recognition of the fact that women have been largely excluded from DPAG’s history, we undertook a project in 2021 to redress the balance and called for nominations of women, both staff and students, who played a role in shaping the Department and/or went on to have successful careers outside of DPAG. A number of these women now adorn the walls of our Sherrington Building from 22 June 2021.


Professor Sulayma Albarwani

DPhil, Nye Group (1994)

First Omani Physiologist, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman (1994)

Fulbright Senior Scholar (2000)

Honourable member of Oman State Council (2007) and The World Academy of Science (2018)


L-R: Dr Susan NobleDr Hilary BrownJean BanisterProfessor Junko Kimura 

Jean Banister is pictured with her three female DPhil students Hilary Brown, Junko Kimura, Susan Noble

Banister was the first woman to be appointed Departmental Demonstrator in Physiology (1949)

Supervised Dr Brown (DPhil 1961), Dr Noble (DPhil 1972), Professor Kimura (DPhil 1982)

Dr Brown and Dr Noble (both University Research Lecturers in Physiology) were instrumental in the understanding of pacemaker activity (1977-80)

Professor Kimura became Head of Pharmacology, Fukushima Medical University (1999)


Dr Dame Alice Josephine Barnes

Dame Alice Josephine Barnes© Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

First class honours in Physiology BA, Oxf (1934)

Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (1939)

First woman to be appointed consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Charing Cross Hospital (1954)

Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (1967)

First woman to be appointed President of the British Medical Association (1979–80)

Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (and former Vice-President) (1994)


Dr Daphne Bascom


DPhil, Robbins Group (1991) and Marshall Scholar

Head and Neck Surgeon, Case Medical Center (2002)

Chief Clinical Systems Officer, Cleveland Clinic (2010)

Senior Vice President, Interim National Health Officer, YMCA (2017)

Vice President, Population Health, St Luke’s Health System (2019)


Dr Alice Carleton


First woman to be appointed University Lecturer, Department of Human Anatomy (1921)

President of the British Association of Dermatologists (1950-51)

Prosser White Lecture, Royal College of Physicians

Consultant dermatologist at the Radcliffe Infirmary (retired 1957)


Dr Marianne Fillenz

marianne adult.png

DPhil with Sybil Cooper and David Whitteridge (1950)

First woman to be appointed University Lecturer, University Laboratory of Physiology (circa 1963)

Tutorial Fellow at St Anne’s College (1963-92)

Pioneer of linear sweep voltammetry technique (1982)

Awarded Doctor of Science, Oxf (2000)


Mabel FitzGerald

Black and white photograph of Mabel Purefoy FitzGerald examining a scientific sample in a pipette.

First woman to study undergraduate Physiology (1896-99)

Research Scientist with Francis Gotch and Gustav Mann (1897)

Laboratory Technician to John Scott Haldane (1904)

Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship (1907)

Pioneer in respiration research and sole woman at landmark expedition to Pikes Peak, Colorado (1911)

Second women to be elected a member of the American Physiological Society (1913) and first centenarian to be awarded an Oxford MA (1972)


Dr Pamela MacKinnon


Second woman to be appointed University Lecturer in Anatomy (1964)

First Medical Tutorial Fellow of St Hilda’s College (1964)

The MacKinnon Committee transformed the Medical School’s first two preclinical years by creating six cross-department courses

Co-author of the seminal Oxford Textbook of Functional Anatomy (2005)


Professor Margaret Matthews


Departmental Demonstrator in Anatomy (1957-59 and 1967-71)

University Lecturer in Anatomy and Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall (1971)

Honorary Member of the American Association of Anatomists (1987)

Recognition of distinction award as Professor of Human Anatomy (1997)


Professor Gillian Morriss-Kay

Gillian Morris-Kay 1976.jpg© Ramsey and Muspratt on behalf of Balliol College, 1976

University Lecturer in Anatomy and Fellow of Balliol College (1976)

Awarded Doctor of Science, Oxf (1995)

Recognition of distinction award as Professor of Developmental Anatomy (1996)

Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Anatomy (2002-12)

One of the first Honorary Fellows of the Anatomical Society (2013)


Dr Mary Phillips


MRC-funded DPhil and Research Fellow (1967-1989)

Departmental Demonstrator in Physiology (1971)

Senior Funder at the Wellcome Trust (1989-2004), instrumental in developing Wellcome’s approach to flexible career development to facilitate research careers of women scientists

Director of Research Planning, UCL (2004-11)


Dr Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor_cropped (St Anne's).jpg© St Anne's College

First class honours in Physiology BA, Oxf (1949), BM BCh (1953)

Tutorial Fellow of St Anne’s College (1959)

Second woman to be appointed University Lecturer in Physiology (1980)

First woman to be appointed Tutorial Fellow at St Edmund Hall (1980)

Ann Taylor Undergraduate Bursary for Women established in her memory by St Edmund Hall in 2017


Dr Dame Janet Vaughan DCL FRS

Janet_Vaughan._Ausschnitt_aus_einem_Gruppenphoto_1944.jpg© Wellcome Collection / The Medical Mission of Experts on their visit to India.

First class honours in Physiology BA, Oxf (1922)

Author of one of the first books on specialised treatments of blood diseases (1934)

Pioneered mass blood donation and transfusion during the Second World War by designing a system of blood banks in London

Post-war, improved treatment of starvation at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

Principal of Somerville College (1945-67)


Photographs of the Display with thanks to Colin Beesley

Mabel FitzGerald, Alice Carleton, Dame Janet Vaughan and Dame Alice Josephine Barnes Sherrington display© Mabel FitzGerald, Alice Carleton, Dame Janet Vaughan and Dame Alice Josephine Barnes

Marianne Fillenz, Pam MacKinnon and Margaret Matthews Sherrington display© Marianne Fillenz, Pamela MacKinnon and Margaret Matthews

Gillian Morriss-Kay, Ann Taylor, Daphne Bascom and Sulayma Albarwani Sherrington display© Gillian Morriss-Kay, Ann Taylor, Daphne Bascom and Sulayma Albarwani

Mary Phillips Sherrington display© Mary Phillips

Noble, Brown, Banister and Kimura display© Susan Noble, Hilary Brown, Jean Banister and Junko Kimura


Visit DPAG's Women in Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics website for more information about these women and many more.

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