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Fellows Directory

Richard Morris

Professor Richard Morris CBE FMedSci FRS


Elected: 1997


Richard Morris investigates the neurobiology of learning and memory — that is, how the brain mediates the storage of knowledge and its recollection. Richard developed some of the most widely used learning tests for mice and rats, including the water maze (or Morris water maze), which he used to dissect the role of the brain’s hippocampus in navigation.

His other findings include the observation that activating NMDA receptors found within the hippocampus is a very important event for encoding memories. He also co-developed the ‘synaptic tagging and capture’ hypothesis of long-term potentiation — a cellular mechanism that forms the foundation of learning and memory creation — and is now working on the neurobiology of mental schemas.

Richard is passionate about encouraging the public to engage with science and supports efforts to inspire young people to embark on a career as a scientist. This stems from a time early in his own career when he worked on both a human biology exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London and within the Science and Features Department of the BBC.

Professional positions

Professor of Neuroscience, Centre For Cognitive and Neural Systems, University of Edinburgh

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Hippocampus, Learning, Memory, Neuroscience, Synaptic plasticity