Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology


Prof Maria Fitzgerald

Prof Maria Fitzgerald


Medawar Building


  • Professor of Developmental Neurobiology
    Neuro, Physiology & Pharmacology
    Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL


  1. The neurobiological processes which underlie the development of pain pathways (i) the maturation of central excitatory and inhibitory synaptic responses in postnatal dorsal horn and brain stem (ii) the development of central processes underlying hyperalgesia and allodynia (iii) mechanisms underlying analgesic action in immature pain pathways (iv) central plasticity following inflammation and nerve damage in infants and children (v) the structural and functional effects of acute and persistent pain and injury upon the developing central nervous system (vi) the development of supraspinal and cortical pain processing
  2. The developmental neurophysiology of pain in infants and children (i) cortical, brainstem and spinal pain processing in infants and children (ii) The efficacy of analgesics in acute and chronic paediatric pain (iv) The long term consequences of inflammatory and neuropathic pain in infance and childhood upon sensory processing .
Award year Qualification Institution
1978 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
University College London
1975 BA Hons
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Physiological Science
University of Oxford

The Fitzgerald lab at UCL is internationally recognised for pioneering work in the basic developmental neurobiology of pain and is a world leader in science of pain in infants and children. 

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. She became a Professor of Developmental Neurobiology at UCL in 1995.  

Maria was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2000 and was awarded the Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children's Pain Relief by the American Pain Society, in 2010.  She was elected to the Royal Society of Anaesthetists Faculty of Pain Medicine in 2013 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016. 

She is currently and has been a member of numerous strategic and research panels including the Medical Research Council Neurosciences and Mental Health Board, the UK Research Assessment Exercise (REF) and the Council of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Research Interests


Behaviour|*|Brain|*|Brain slice physiology|*|Brainstem|*|Cell culture|*|Chronic pain syndromes|*|Connectivity|*|Cortex|*|Development|*|Electroencephalography (EEG)|*|Electromyography|*|Electrophysiological recording techniques|*|Electrophysiology|*|Extracellular recording - acute|*|Fluorescence microscopy techniques|*|Gene expression|*|Gene expression profiling - tissue level|*|Immunohistochemistry|*|In vivo electroporation, ionophoresis and microinj|*|Inflammation|*|Interneurons|*|Intracellular recording|*|Lesion analysis|*|Light microscopic techniques|*|Microarrays|*|Microglia|*|Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS)|*|Networks|*|Neural signalling|*|Neuroanatomical approaches|*|Neuroanatomy|*|Neuroscience|*|Pain|*|Pain - chronic|*|Pain-related behaviour analysis|*|Perception|*|Pharmacology|*|Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)|*|Retrograde and anterograde tracer|*|Spinal cord|*|Synapse|*|Synaptic plasticity|*|The neural development of pain processing