Professor Tracey held until recently the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Sciences, was Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and was Director of the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB – now WIN), amongst other academic roles within the University.
Professor Tracey said: 'I am utterly surprised by this honour, and truly delighted that my past and present team's research to understand the brain mechanisms underpinning the major medical health problem of chronic pain has been recognised in this way. I am so fortunate to work with such a dedicated group of globally drawn scientists and clinicians, and I am so grateful to Oxford University and my various colleges and departments, especially colleagues at NDCN and WIN, as well as Heads of Departments and the MSD, for all the support over the years. I'd particularly like to thank our children, Colette, John and Jim, and of course my husband, Professor Myles Allen, all of whom have been instrumental in my career – I'm so thrilled that he was recognised this year too.'
Irene returned to her alma mater in 2019 as the 51st Warden of Merton College. Professor Tracey has served on the Council of the UKRI Medical Research Council since 2017 and is President-elect of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. She is a passionate advocate for women in science and her team is internationally recognised for their contributions to neuroimaging and pain neuroscience.