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Medicine at Nottingham: An interactive timeline



Pre 1970


Royal Charter granted – University College Nottingham becomes The University of Nottingham. Lord Trent is installed as Chancellor the following year.

1948 - Laying of foundation stone


The pioneering work of the late Professor Robert Baldwin paves the way for Nottingham’s reputation as a leading centre for cancer research. He publishes the first ever paper showing that the body’s immune system can fight cancer.

Visit the Division of Oncology today.

1955 - cancer research




On 27 July 1964 the Minister of Health announced in parliament that a new medical school and university hospital was to be established at the University of Nottingham. This was to be the first new medical school established in the UK in the twentieth century. Nottingham was chosen for both local and national reasons.

Learn more about the history of the medical school via the University's Manuscripts and Special Collections online catalogue.





The UK’s first Medical School in the 20th century is established at the Queen’s Medical Centre campus, with the first intake of 48 students graduating in 1975. 

Learn more.

First class of medical students, 1970 


Dr Peter Mansfield (later Sir Peter Mansfield), of the Department of Physics, starts investigating nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) as an alternative to X-rays for the determination of crystal structures. The method he creates will develop intomagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and bring about a revolution in diagnostic medicine.

MRI scanner


Professor David Hull (later Sir David Hull) begins his research into the development and survival of babies. His work encompasses many aspects of infant development, including reasons why babies are admitted to hospital, foetal development and nutrition, and survival of premature babies. Research in this area continues now in the Division of Child Health, Obstetrics & Gynaecology.




Research by Professors Roger Blamey, Ian Ellis and their colleagues leads to the introduction of the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI), a risk prediction model for survival in women with primary breast cancer. It is used in many countries for selecting patients who should be offered further (adjuvant) therapies. Research to develop the NPI continues under the Nottingham Breast Pathology Research Group, led by Ian Ellis, Professor of Cancer Pathology.


Throughout the 1980s, Professor Tony Mitchell, Foundation Professor of Medicine, and Professors John Hampton and Bob Wilcox conduct major clinical trials of therapy in cardiovascular disease. They are instrumental in reviewing and analysing published data on treatment. Their findings shape practice in the treatment of myocardial infarction and hypertension.

Learn more about our ongoing research in cardiovascular medicine.



The Nottingham Cochlear Implant Programme is established and provides the first child with a cochlear implant in the UK based on surgical technique pioneered by Professors Gerry M O'Donoghue and Kevin Gibbin.

Otology and hearing research at Nottingham continues to this day to benefit patients with significant hearing loss.  




Research by Professor Nadina Lincoln and her colleagues demonstrates the effectiveness of stroke units. The findings lead to the creation of stroke units across the UK. This work links to Professor Marion Walker's research in stroke rehabilitation which emanates from Professor Peter Fentem's.

See ongoing stroke research at Nottingham.



During the late 1990s and 2000s Professor Chris Hawkey conducts an extensive programme of research into gastroduodenal ulcers and the safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. His research, and campaigning for greater awareness of the dangers of obesity and alcohol, are influential in shaping policy and practice.

In 1998 Professor Mike Pringle becomes Chair of Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners and in 2000 is a co-signatory to the NHS Plan.




Professor Jim Thornton, head of Obstetrics & Gynaecology continues the theme of research into the health of premature babies. It shows that delivering a baby early if it is failing to thrive in utero is the most effective intervention open to obstetricians.



The University of Nottingham reaches a landmark in its long list of academic achievements in 2003 when Sir Peter Mansfield is awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work in the application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The award is shared with the late Paul Lauterbur from the University of Illinois. MRI has been compared to the discovery of x-rays in its significance to medicine, becoming an indispensable tool in medical diagnostics, drastically reducing the need for invasive surgery. 

Watch video: Sir Peter Mansfield talks about the development of MRI

In 2003, the database is also launched - one of the largest GP research databases world-wide - led by Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox. This is followed by the addition of (2005) - the largest real time infectious disease surveillance system worldwide reporting on 23 million patients on a daily basis; and the cardiovascular risk assessment tool (2007) which has been implemented in all major GP clinical systems covering over 95% of GP practices and included in national guidance. In 2013, the QResearch database is linked to secondary care data, mortality and cancer registration data.

A new campus is opened in Derby City General Hospital, where the School of Graduate Entry Medicine and Health is founded. This delivers an innovative four-year, fasttrack programme designed to widen access to medical careers for graduates who come from a wide range of professional and educational backgrounds.


Professor David Walker, Dr Sophie Wilne and Professor Richard Grundy and their colleagues at the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre develop evidence-based clinical guidelines to select children for scanning to diagnose or exclude brain tumour, published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2009.



The UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies is established under the directorship of John Britton, Professor of Epidemiology. The centre brings together nine leading universities in a unique partnership, establishing one of the world's largest research groups dedicated to the prevention of harm from tobacco use.



Led by Professor Tony Avery, the Division of Primary Care is invited to join the NIHR School for Primary Care Research, providing access to collaborative funding of over £16 million to build on its research strengths in clinical epidemiology, patient safety, primary care genetics, and randomised trials.


The EarlyCDT-Lung test, the world’s first autoantibody blood test for the detection of early-stage lung cancer, is now used clinically in North and South America, the UK and the Middle East, generating revenue and saving lives. First launched in 2009, the test has been commercialised through the University spin-out company Oncimmune--the result of research directed by Professor John Robertson.



The University of Nottingham celebrates 40 years of its medical programme.

Watch video: Milestone for Medical School

Professor Ian Hall, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, jointly leads a programme of research with Professor Martin Tobin (Leicester University), which assesses genetic factors important in determining lung function in large populations across Europe. The study, which involves over 50,000 participants, results in the identification of six genes which help predict lung function in human populations.
The Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre is established under the Directorship of Professors David Walsh and Vicky Chapman, providing a multidisciplinary approach to research into pain mechanisms, and a facility for conducting trials to develop new pain killing medicines.
Roll out of a National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme achieves national coverage. This is based on clinical trials led by Professors Jack Hardcastle (now retired) and John Scholefield that showed that screening using Faecal Occult Blood testing reduces mortality for people at average risk of developing the disease. National bowel cancer screening programmes modelled on the UK system are now being developed and implemented in Canada, Denmark and Australia.
First international diagnostic and clinical management guidelines for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare and often fatal disease based on research developed by Professor Simon Johnson (Respiratory Medicine), are published.


The Centre of Excellence for Autoimmunity in Cancer (CEAC) is launched under the Directorship of Professor John Robertson. The centre brings together experts from around the world to work in mutli-disciplinary teams and in collaboration with industry. This approach allows CEAC to not just carry out ground-breaking research into the causes and early detection of cancer, but develop practical clinical applications for these findings as well. 

The national ‘HeadSmart – Be Brain Tumour Aware’ campaign is launched. It aims to reduce the time it takes to diagnose children and young people with brain tumours in the UK, thereby ensuring early treatment, based on NHS evidence-accredited referral guidelines developed by Professors David Walker and Richard Grundy and their colleagues at the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre. As of 2013, the time from symptom onset to brain tumour diagnosis has reduced to 6.9 weeks in 2013 from 14.4 weeks in 2006.

Two University of Nottingham and NHS research partnerships in Nottingham are awarded a combined £13.5 million in funding to help them to develop and translate new scientific discoveries into ground-breaking medicines, treatments and better care for all NHS patients. The Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre Biomedical Research Unit and the Nottingham Hearing BRU are supported by the National Institute for Health Research.



Scancell Holdings plc, spun out and jointly headed by Professor Lindy Durrant (Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy), represents an exciting new model for funding biotechnology research and development with its shares surging 10-fold on London’s AIM stock exchange to achieve a market capitalisation of £98 million following promising clinical trial results.

Scancell is developing novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer including new vaccines for cancer. Learn more about research in cancer immunotherapy at Nottingham.




2013 and beyond

Outcomes for hundreds of thousands of breast cancer patients worldwide continue to improve with the development of a new anti-oestrogen drug treatment-- fulvestrant (Faslodex ® )--led by Professor John Robertson. This is the only new endocrine therapy registered in the last 10 years, as part of a 20-year partnership with AstraZeneca.
The NIHR Efficiency and Mechanism Evaluation Programme issues a special call on skin diseases following a research priority setting partnership between the James Lind Alliance and the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology. Research by the centre, led by Professor Hywel Williams, continues to improve the lives of children with eczema worldwide as it aims to reduce treatment uncertainties for childhood eczema.
Biomaterials-related infection is a common complication of surgical implant devices. Research led by Professor Roger Bayston has led to patented technology for hydrocephalus shunts that gives biomaterials long-acting antimicrobial action. Almost 70% of shunts used annually now include our Bactiseal® shunt whereby UK usage has grown by 22% since 2008.
Research led by Professor Dileep Lobo in optimising perioperative fluid therapy guides the formulation of the British Consensus Guidelines and NICE Guidelines on intravenous fluid therapy for adult surgical patient outcomes, thereby improving patient outcomes and saving money for NHS England.
Professors John Gladman and Richard Morriss are to lead two of the four clinical themes, related to frail older people, stroke and mental health in the newly funded East Midlands Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) which are focused on improving patient outcomes through the conduct and application of applied health research.
Research on aminoglycoside antibiotics in cystic fibrosis (CF) led by Professor Alan Smyth has influenced national and international guidelines and changed clinical practice, including stopping the use of gentamicin in favour of less toxic aminoglycosides.



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School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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