Scott Waddell appointed Fellow of the Royal Society

May 10, 2023

Congratulations are in order to Scott Waddell on his election to The Royal Society.

Professor Scott Waddell FMedSci FRS is DPAG’s Professor of Neurobiology and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow in Basic Biomedical Science at the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour. Professor Waddell discovered novel, conserved mechanisms of adaptive behaviour. His studies in Drosophila revealed an unexpected degree of specialization in the structure and function of dopaminergic circuits. Different, genetically and structurally defined, dopaminergic neurons provide valence- and even reward type-specific teaching signals. Opposing systems of positive and negative reinforcement control goal-directed memory formation and expression at discrete anatomical sites. When learned expectations are not met, the original memory remains but is updated by integration with a new memory of opposite sign at a separate location. Intelligent behaviour is therefore informed by a catalogue of parallel memories accrued over time. The most recent research from the Waddell lab published in Nature discovered a detailed neural circuit mechanism that explains how multisensory learning improves memory performance.

Professor Waddell’s has been recognised with a number of prestigious awards, including the 2014 Liliane Bettencourt Prize for the Life Sciences, the 2018 Bindra Lectures, election to The Academy of Medical Sciences in 2021, and a Wellcome Discovery Award in 2022.