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A David Smith

MA, DPhil, FMedSci


Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology

  • Founding Director OPTIMA
  • Founding Director MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit.

I have spent my entire academic career in the University of Oxford, graduating from Christ Church in Biochemistry in 1963 from where I joined the Department of Pharmacology to do research for a D.Phil.

From 1971-84 I was University Lecturer in Pharmacology at Oxford and Student (Fellow) of Christ Church. From 1976 to 2001 I was founding Chief Editor of IBRO’s journal Neuroscience. I was awarded the Gaddum prize medal of the British Pharmacological Society in 1979. From 1984-2005 I was Chair and Head of Pharmacology at Oxford and Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. In 1985 the MRC established the Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit associated with the Department with me as Honorary Director and Peter Somogyi FRS as Associate Director. In 1987 I negotiated an agreement with ER Squibb & Sons Inc., which led to the donation of £20 million to the University in order to provide the current new building for the Department of Pharmacology and funding for research projects in brain disease.  In 1988 I co-founded the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Aging (OPTIMA). I was Deputy-Head (Vice-Dean) of the newly established Division of Medical Sciences at Oxford from 2000-2005. 

I have honorary doctorates from the Universities of Szeged and Lund and am a member of the Hungarian and Norwegian Academies of Science. In 2000 I was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK. In 2006 I was made the first Honorary Research Fellow of Alzheimer’s Research UK, having served for 5 years as the first Chair of their Scientific Advisory Board. After retiring I have continued my research into the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

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