Biomedical Sciences

Commemorative plaque unveiling - sponsored by The Physiological Society

A Physiological Society Blue Plaque has been unveiled in honour of the pioneering medical scientist Professor Mary Pickford (1902-2002).


Science of life

CDBS MP lecture

Professor Mary Pickford became the first female Professor in the University’s Medical School when she was appointed to the Chair of Physiology in 1966. Her pioneering work in the field of neuroendocrinology made major contributions to our understanding of how hormones released from the pituitary gland in the brain control kidney and reproductive functions in the body.

Throughout her life she overcame the barriers to pursuing a career in science as a woman in the 20th century and became highly regarded as a meticulous experimentalist and an engaging medical educator. She was also highly supportive of young scientists.

Unveiling event

The blue plaque has been unveiled in the University’s Old Medical School Quad at Teviot Place. It is part of a scheme by The Physiological Society to commemorate outstanding physiologists who have contributed to the advancement of the discipline through their discoveries while leaving a legacy beyond their lifetime.

This is the fourth unveiling in The Physiological Society’s Blue Plaque scheme which intended to raise the visibility of physiology and give the wider public an insight into the positive role that ‘the science of life’ plays in their everyday lives. It is hoped that these plaques will spark curiosity and help inspire new generations to get involved in the physiological sciences.

David Paterson - President, The Physiological Society

Annual lecture

As part of the ceremony, Professor Dame Linda Partridge, from University College London and Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing, delivered the 2021 Mary Pickford Lecture entitled “Drugs for Healthier Ageing”. 

 We are delighted that The Physiological Society have honoured Professor Mary Pickford’s pioneering career and contributions to the discipline of physiology.  She lived and worked in a time when women faced considerable obstacles and challenges in pursuing an academic career, even today these challenges remain.  Mary Pickford rose to the very top of her profession and was hugely respected by all her peers.

Professor Moira Whyte - Head of College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Related links

Biography of Professor Mary Pickford

[Image credit: Neil Hannah]