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Prof Anne Stephenson
Prof Anne Stephenson profile picture
  • Emeritus Professor
  • Pharma & Bio Chemistry
  • UCL School of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

Professor Anne Stephenson's academic career began with a MA degree in Natural Sciences (chemistry) from the University of Cambridge. She then studied for an MSc in Neurochemistry at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London. This led to a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Bath where her thesis work was on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and its role in myasthenia gravis. Following post-doctoral work at the University of California with Professor Richard Olsen where she began her study of the GABA-A receptors, she joined the group of Professor Eric Barnard FRS in the Department of Biochemistry Imperial College, London as an MRC Training Fellow.

In 1983, whilst still at Imperial College, Professor Stephenson was one of the first recipients of a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. She moved with Professor Barnard to the MRC Molecular Neurobiology Unit in Cambridge where she was a member of the Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge.

In 1989, she joined The School of Pharmacy as a Lecturer still holding her Royal Society Fellowship. Anne was appointed Professor of Molecular Neuroscience in 1995. She has served on the British Neuroscience Association Committee, the Neurochemical Group of the Biochemical Society, the Editorial Board of the Biochemical Journal, Molecular Membrane Biology and the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the BBSRC Biochemistry and Cell Biology Board, the MRC College of Experts and the Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences Committee of The Wellcome Trust. Anne is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


Research Summary

Professor Stephenson’s molecular neuroscience research group aims to elucidate fundamental mechanisms which contribute to the molecular organization of synapses. She studies mechanisms of mitochondrial transport following her discovery of the TRAK family of kinesin adaptor proteins, key mediators of mitochonbdrial trafficking. Also, her group study neurotransmitter receptors and their associated scaffolding proteins aspiring to understand how protein-protein interactions determine that neurones ensure that appropriate numbers of a particular neurotransmitter receptor subtype with unique pharmacological and biophysical properties are trafficked and targeted to a defined subcellular localization to ensure fidelity of brain function. Both inhibitory and excitatory synapses are studied focusing on GABAA receptors and the NMDA subclass of excitatory L-glutamate receptors respectively. Both receptors are complex, heteromeric, allosterically modulated integral membrane proteins that are implicated in neurological disease: NMDA receptor dysfunction in stroke, neuropathic pain, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease, and schizophrenia whereas GABAA receptor dysfunction is associated with epilepsy, anxiety and panic disorders.

Teaching Summary

Current Activities

MPharm Tutor

MPharm Option F Molecular Basis of Disease; Course Leader

MSc Module New Drug Targets in the Central Nervous System; Module Leader

MRes; Course Director    


Past Activities

2000-2007 School of Pharmacy, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies  


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