A blue plaque has been unveiled in honour of the pioneering medical scientist Mary Pickford (1902-2002).

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.

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.

Mary Pickford

Born in India, Mary Pickford graduated in science from Bedford College, London, in 1924. While conducting pharmacological research part-time at UCL, with AJ Clarke and EB Verney, she trained in medicine and qualified in 1933.

After junior clinical jobs, she took a post as physiology lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, where she studied oxytocin and anti-diuretic hormones.

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