Eleanor Maguire

Maguire in 2016
Born (1970-03-27) 27 March 1970 (age 53)
Dublin, Ireland
Alma materUniversity College Dublin (BA, PhD)
University of Wales, Swansea (MSc)
Scientific career
Thesis[ProQuest 301509150 Real-world spatial memory following temporal-lobe surgery in humans(1994)
Doctoral studentsDemis Hassabis[1]

Eleanor Anne Maguire FRS FMedSci FBA MRIA (born 27 March 1970)[2] is an Irish neuroscientist. Since 2007, she has been Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London[3][4][5][6] where she is also a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow.[7][8]

Early life and education

Maguire was born in Dublin, Ireland.[2] She studied psychology at University College Dublin and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons) degree in 1990.[2] She studied Clinical and experimental neuropsychology at University of Wales, Swansea and graduated with a Master of Science degree in 1991.[6][2] She undertook her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at University College Dublin,[9][10] Ireland, where she first became interested in the neural basis of memory while working with patients as a neuropsychologist at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. She completed her PhD in 1994,[9] and her doctoral thesis was titled Real-world spatial memory following temporal-lobe surgery in humans.[9]

Research and career

Maguire is a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow[7] and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London,[11] UK, where she is also the Deputy Director. Maguire heads the Memory and Space research laboratory at the Centre. In addition, she is an honorary member of the Department of Neuropsychology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London.

Maguire and others have noted that a distributed set of brain regions supports human episodic (autobiographical) memory, defined as the memory for personal everyday events,[12] and that this brain network overlaps considerably with that supporting navigation in large-scale space and other diverse cognitive functions such as imagination and thinking about the future.[13] In her research Maguire seeks to place episodic memory in the context of wider cognition so as to understand how common brain areas, and possibly common processes, support such disparate functions. In this way she hopes to gain novel and fundamental insights into the mechanisms that are involved.[11]

Her team uses standard whole brain and high resolution structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging in conjunction with behavioural testing and neuropsychological examination of amnesic patients to pursue their aims. They mainly employ ecologically valid or 'real life' experimental paradigms to examine brain-behaviour relationships; examples include using virtual reality to examine navigation,[14][15] investigating autobiographical memories of people's personal past experiences, and their ability to imagine fictitious and future scenes and events. Perhaps the most famous of these is her series of studies on London taxi drivers,[16][17][18] where she documented changes in hippocampal structure associated with acquiring the knowledge of London's layout. A redistribution of grey matter was indicated in London Taxi Drivers compared to controls. This work on hippocampal plasticity not only interested scientists, but also engaged the public and media world-wide.

This is also true of her other work such as that showing that patients with amnesia cannot imagine the future[19] which several years ago was rated as one of the scientific breakthroughs of the year;[20] and her other studies demonstrating that it is possible to decode people's memories from the pattern of fMRI activity in the hippocampus.[21][22]

Maguire's interest is mainly focused on the hippocampus, a brain structure known to be crucial for learning and memory, whilst also exploring the roles of the parahippocampal cortex, the retrosplenial cortex and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.[22][23][24][25] She has supervised numerous doctoral students including Demis Hassabis.[1]

Public engagement

Besides her direct scientific activities, Maguire and her research group have an active public engagement agenda, involving public lectures, school visits and demonstrations, TV, radio and internet contributions, and collaborations with several artists, encouraging people of all ages to think about the value of science in their everyday lives. In February 2014, Maguire delivered a Friday Evening Discourse at The Royal Institution.[26]

Honours and awards

Maguire has won a number of prizes for outstanding contributions to science, including:

She was also named as one of 'Twenty Europeans who have changed our lives’ when The European Union launched a new science and innovation initiative several years ago. In 2011, Maguire was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) and, in 2016, a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).[32]

In 2017 she was elected an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA)[33] and in July 2018 was elected Fellow of the British Academy (FBA).[34]

Personal life

Maguire's entry in Who's Who lists her recreations as "Comedy lover, long-suffering supporter of Crystal Palace Football Club, getting lost."[2]


  1. ^ a b Hassabis, Demis (2009). Neural processes underpinning episodic memory (PhD thesis). University College London. OCLC 829958436. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.564607.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Maguire, Prof. Eleanor Anne". Who's Who. A & C Black. 2010. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U250614. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Maguire, E. A. (2012). "Eleanor A. Maguire". Current Biology. 22 (24): R1025–R1027. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.10.007. PMID 23387005.
  4. ^ Eleanor Maguire publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Eleanor Maguire publications". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Iris View Profile". iris.ucl.ac.uk. University College London. Archived from the original on 3 July 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Principal Research Fellows". wellcome.ac.uk. London: Wellcome Trust. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  8. ^ Eleanor Maguire publications from Europe PubMed Central
  9. ^ a b c Maguire, E. A. (1994). Real-world spatial memory following temporal-lobe surgery in humans (Thesis). ProQuest 301509150.
  10. ^ Spiers, H. J. (2001). "Unilateral temporal lobectomy patients show lateralized topographical and episodic memory deficits in a virtual town". Brain. 124 (12): 2476–2489. doi:10.1093/brain/124.12.2476. PMID 11701601.
  11. ^ a b "Memory & Space: Professor Eleanor Maguire FMedSci". Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL. Archived from the original on 12 December 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  12. ^ Maguire, E. A. (2001). "Neuroimaging studies of autobiographical event memory". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 356 (1413): 1441–1451. doi:10.1098/rstb.2001.0944. PMC 1088527. PMID 11571035.
  13. ^ Hassabis, D.; Maguire, E. A. (2007). "Deconstructing episodic memory with construction". Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 11 (7): 299–306. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2007.05.001. PMID 17548229. S2CID 13939288.
  14. ^ Maguire, E. A.; Burgess, N.; Donnett, J. G.; Frackowiak, R. S.; Frith, C. D.; O'Keefe, J. (1998). "Knowing Where and Getting There: A Human Navigation Network". Science. 280 (5365): 921–924. Bibcode:1998Sci...280..921M. CiteSeerX doi:10.1126/science.280.5365.921. PMID 9572740.
  15. ^ Spiers, H. J.; Maguire, E. A. (2006). "Thoughts, behaviour, and brain dynamics during navigation in the real world". NeuroImage. 31 (4): 1826–1840. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.01.037. PMID 16584892. S2CID 3228370.
  16. ^ Maguire, E. A.; Frackowiak, R. S.; Frith, C. D. (1997). "Recalling routes around london: Activation of the right hippocampus in taxi drivers". Journal of Neuroscience. 17 (18): 7103–7110. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.17-18-07103.1997. PMC 6573257. PMID 9278544.
  17. ^ Woollett, K.; Maguire, E. A. (2011). "Acquiring 'the Knowledge' of London's Layout Drives Structural Brain Changes". Current Biology. 21 (24): 2109–2114. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.018. PMC 3268356. PMID 22169537.
  18. ^ Maguire, E. A.; Gadian, D. G.; Johnsrude, I. S.; Good, C. D.; Ashburner, J.; Frackowiak, R. S. J.; Frith, C. D. (2000). "Navigation-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 97 (8): 4398–4403. Bibcode:2000PNAS...97.4398M. doi:10.1073/pnas.070039597. PMC 18253. PMID 10716738.
  19. ^ Hassabis, Demis; Kumaran, Dharshan; Vann, Seralynne D.; Maguire, Eleanor A. (30 January 2007). "Patients with hippocampal amnesia cannot imagine new experiences". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (5): 1726–1731. Bibcode:2007PNAS..104.1726H. doi:10.1073/pnas.0610561104. PMC 1773058. PMID 17229836.
  20. ^ News Staff, T. (2007). "BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR: The Runners-Up". Science. 318 (5858): 1844a–. doi:10.1126/science.318.5858.1844a. PMID 18096772.
  21. ^ Chadwick, M. J.; Hassabis, D.; Weiskopf, N.; Maguire, E. A. (2010). "Decoding Individual Episodic Memory Traces in the Human Hippocampus". Current Biology. 20 (6): 544–547. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.053. PMC 2849012. PMID 20226665.
  22. ^ a b Bonnici, H. M.; Chadwick, M. J.; Lutti, A.; Hassabis, D.; Weiskopf, N.; Maguire, E. A. (2012). "Detecting Representations of Recent and Remote Autobiographical Memories in vmPFC and Hippocampus". Journal of Neuroscience. 32 (47): 16982–16991. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2475-12.2012. PMC 3507449. PMID 23175849.
  23. ^ Zeidman, P.; Mullally, S. A. L.; Schwarzkopf, D. S.; Maguire, E. A. (2012). "Exploring the parahippocampal cortex response to high and low spatial frequency spaces". NeuroReport. 23 (8): 503–507. doi:10.1097/WNR.0b013e328353766a. PMC 3378656. PMID 22473293.
  24. ^ Mullally, S. A. L.; Intraub, H.; Maguire, E. A. (2012). "Attenuated Boundary Extension Produces a Paradoxical Memory Advantage in Amnesic Patients". Current Biology. 22 (4): 261–268. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.01.001. PMC 3315012. PMID 22264610.
  25. ^ Auger, S. D.; Mullally, S. A. L.; Maguire, E. A. (2012). Baker, Chris I (ed.). "Retrosplenial Cortex Codes for Permanent Landmarks". PLOS ONE. 7 (8): e43620. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...743620A. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043620. PMC 3422332. PMID 22912894.
  26. ^ "The Neuroscience of Memory: Friday Evening Discourse with Eleanor Maguire". richannel.org. The Royal Institution. 2014. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  27. ^ "Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize". August 2006. Archived from the original on 26 February 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  28. ^ "About the YIA Awards". Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  29. ^ "Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award previous winners". Archived from the original on 7 January 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  30. ^ "Feldberg Foundation Recent British winners". Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  31. ^ "Professor Maguire awarded Kemali prize". UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology (Press release). 13 June 2011.
  32. ^ "Eleanor Maguire". Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  33. ^ "Professor Eleanor Maguire elected Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy". UCL News (Press release). 21 December 2017.
  34. ^ "Record number of academics elected to British Academy". The British Academy (Press release). 20 July 2018.