The Vice-Chancellor is Oxford University's senior officer, responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of the world's top-ranked university. Professor Tracey's nomination has been approved by the University's Council and is now subject to approval by Congregation, the University's sovereign body.
Head of Department Professor David Paterson said: "I am absolutely thrilled that Irene has been nominated to be our next VC. She was a university lecturer in the department and we are very proud of her achievements. She will bring much energy, thoughtfulness and experience to the role as VC. As a former student, tutor, lecturer, professor, head of department and current Warden of Merton and pro Vice Chancellor, her understanding of the institution is par excellence. Many congratulations from DPAG!"
Professor Irene Tracey joined the Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics in 2001 in her first tenured position as University Lecturer in association with a Tutorial Fellowship at Christ Church College. Then based in the Le Gros Clark building, she was part of the team responsible for developing and modernising the neuroscience offering in the undergraduate medical curriculum, which had just expanded from 100 to 150 students.
In 2005, Professor Tracey was appointed Professor of Pain Research and became Director of Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB, now the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN)). She remained in the Department for a further two years as a Senior Professor during the merger to DPAG, before leaving in late 2006 to take on the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Science alongside her Directorship of FMRIB.
Professor Tracey's research has contributed to a better understanding of pain perception and the representation of pain in the brain. Within the physiological domain of her work, the Tracey Lab has proved that anti- and pro-nociceptive mechanisms within the descending pain modulatory system (a network involving cortical, sub-cortical and brainstem regions) are key in the context of pain reduction during placebo analgesia and distraction and pain amplification during central sensitisation after injury, respectively.
Last academic year, Professor Tracey was interviewed and featured in DPAG's "Women in Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics" website celebrating the women of DPAG as part of the centenary of women being awarded degrees at Oxford University. See DPAG's full profile for Professor Irene Tracey here.
More information about Professor Tracey's nomination to be the next Vice-Chancellor of Oxford is available on the University of Oxford website. A full press release from the University is also available.