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First in Physiology (1949), College Lecturer (1957) and Tutorial Fellow (1959) in Physiology, University Lecturer in Physiology (1980-95)

Ann Taylor_cropped (St Anne's).jpg© St Anne's CollegeDr Ann Taylor B.M., B.Ch. first came to the University of Oxford to read medicine at Somerville College, gaining a First in Physiology and Biochemistry in 1949. She then undertook her medical training at the Radcliffe Infirmary, graduating in 1956. She embarked on a research career after completing her house officer year and was appointed Lecturer in Physiology at St Anne's College in 1957, before being elected to a Tutorial Fellowship in Physiology and to membership of the Governing Body in 1959. She left Oxford for a research position at Stanford University School of Medicine, USA, in 1963, where she commenced the research studies for which she gained international recognition. She then held tenured faculty positions in the Department of Physiology at Cornell University Medical College from 1975 – 1980. In 1979, she applied for a University Lectureship position at Oxford, receiving a glowing reference from famed Professor of Biochemistry Isidore Edelman: “Dr Taylor also has a broad and intelligent grasp of membrane transport and renal and electrolyte physiology in general. She is a very effective teacher and is scholarly and energetic. On the personal side she is honorable, cooperative and conscientious – a thoroughly admirable colleague and friend”.

In 1980, Dr Taylor returned to Oxford on her appointment as University Lecturer in Physiology, becoming only the second woman appointed to the position after Dr Marianne Fillenz, and Fellow and Tutor in Physiology at St Edmund Hall, the first woman to be appointed Tutorial Fellow at the Hall. On her return to Oxford, she had established a flourishing research career. She studied the involvement of calcium and cytoskeletal proteins in the regulation of movement of salt and water across the cells of epithelial tissues such as the kidney and bladder. At Cornell, she had worked alongside Erich Windhager, who in turn had worked with Hans Ussing, one of the founding fathers of epithelial physiology. In 1980, Dr Taylor and Professor Windhager published a major paper together in 3000_Women_Ann_by_John_Cairns_16.11.15-10 (from Teddys Hall).jpg© John Cairns for St Edmund Hall's 3000 Women exhibitionNature entitled “Cytosolic calcium ion activity in epithelial cells of Necturus kidney”.

Dr Taylor was a pioneer for the increased presence of women in academic life at St Edmund Hall, as well as Oxford more widely. She was instrumental in ensuring that the college had its first Tutor for Women, and provided political support for women’s leisure activities, particularly the Women’s Boat Club. She also served as Chair of the University Committee on Student Health from 1989 to 1994, and was a central and key figure in developing the student welfare service in Oxford. She was elected to an Emeritus Fellowship at St Edmund Hall on her retirement in 1995, and featured in the Hall’s photographic exhibition of inspirational women in 2015. Following her death in 2017, the Hall decided to honour Dr Taylor’s memory by endowing a £50,000 Ann Taylor Undergraduate Bursary to enable more women to attend the Hall. At her memorial service, Principal of St Edmund Hall Keith Gulls said: “Ann was the first and only female Tutorial Fellow when she started. She championed minorities, argued for fairness and openness, gave support to many and provided an inspirational example as the very best of an Oxford research scientist and tutor.”

Read the full tribute to Dr Ann Taylor by Keith Gulls.

 

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