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Fellows Directory

Scott Waddell

Scott Waddell

Professor Scott Waddell FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2023






Scott Waddell is Professor of Neurobiology in the Centre for Neural Circuits & Behaviour at the University of Oxford.

Scott studies molecular, cellular and neural circuit mechanisms of memory and motivation using genetic approaches in Drosophila. His work has revealed extensive heterogeneity in the structure and function of the dopaminergic system. His group found that different populations of dopaminergic neurons represent specific types of reward. They also demonstrated that opposing dopaminergic systems provide motivational control and update memories when learned expectations are unmet. Together his studies indicate that informed behaviour arises from a catalogue of parallel memories.

Scott read biochemistry in Dundee and obtained his PhD in cancer biology in London. He shifted field and continent for a postdoc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After 10 years as a group leader at UMass Medical School, he relocated to Oxford as a Wellcome Senior and then Principal Research Fellow. Scott is a member of EMBO, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and was awarded the 2014 Liliane Bettencourt Prize for Life Sciences.

Professional positions

Professor of Neurobiology, Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, University of Oxford

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biochemistry and molecular biology, Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
  • Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
    • Behavioural neuroscience, Cellular neuroscience, Development and control of behaviour, Physiology incl biophysics of cells (non-clinical)


Learning, memory, motivation, neural circuits, Drosophila

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