Maria Fitzgerald

Professor of Developmental Neurobiology at University College London

Maria Fitzgerald graduated in Physiological Sciences at Oxford University and studied for a PhD in Physiology at UCL. She was awarded a postdoctoral MRC training fellowship to work with Professor Patrick Wall in the Cerebral Functions Group at UCL and remained in that group as a postdoctoral fellow until starting her own research group in the Anatomy & Developmental Biology Dept at UCL. She became a Professor of Developmental Neurobiology in 1995 and was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2000. She currently runs a flourishing research group in the Dept of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology at UCL and is Scientific Director of the UCL Paediatric Pain Research Centre at UCL. Maria is a member of the Council of the Academy of Medical Sciences, British Pain Society and the Biological Sciences panel of the UK Research Assessment Exercise (REF). She was previously a member of the Medical Research Council Neurosciences and Mental Health Board, the Scientific Board of the Migraine Trust and National Research Agencies in France and Norway. She is an Editorial Board member of "Pain" and of "European Journal of Pain". Maria also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate neuroscience at UCL and is final year Tutor for the BSc & MSci in Neuroscience.
The Fitzgerald lab at UCL is internationally recognised for pioneering work in the basic biology of pain in infants and children and she has published over 150 research papers and reviews in the area of pain neurobiology. In 2010 Maria was awarded the Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children's Pain Relief by the American Pain Society, the first basic scientist to have achieved this prestigious award. This was followed in 2013 by a Fellowship by Election to the Royal Society of Anaesthetists for services to pain medicine.
Maria has three children and a husband without whom nothing would have been possible. She is passionate about tennis and plays it enthusiastically if not very well.

Plough your own furrow - establishing a successful career in academic research

A career in academic research is fascinating, rewarding and unfailingly interesting but it is not always easy.
As a young postdoctoral researcher, it can be hard to establish yourself as an independent scientist. The competitive environment requires initiative, self-confidence and resilience to criticism.
In this lecture, I will discuss key steps towards independence and becoming a PI of your own lab. I will highlight those steps which can be especially difficult for women and offer some advice, from my own experience and that of younger colleagues.

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