Pauline Harrison

Pauline Harrison


Pauline Harrison was one of the women who blazed the trail for female academic success at the University of Sheffield. She joined the University as a demonstrator in 1954 and was awarded a personal chair in Biochemistry in 1978.

Pauline was the daughter of Dr John Macqueen Cowan, Assistant Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, and May Cowan, also a graduate in Botany and the only girl in her family to go to University.

Pauline graduated from Somerville College, Oxford with a BA in Chemistry in 1948 followed by a DPhil in X-ray crystallography. Pauline was tutored by the Nobel prize-winning crystallographer Professor Dorothy Hodgkin at Oxford. Pauline then worked at KingĀ“s College London on the structure of protein collagen before moving to Sheffield in 1954.

In Sheffield, Pauline obtained a grant from the MRC to determine the structure of the large iron storage protein, ferritin, with which she had become fascinated whilst in Oxford. It was to become her lifelong study. Consistent with her interests in promoting interdisciplinary research Pauline's studies involved worldwide collaborations with clinicians, physicists and chemists.

Pauline was appointed to a lectureship in the then Department of Biochemistry, in 1964 and later to a Personal Chair. She is now an Emeritus Professor. Her honours include a CBE and honorary membership of the British Biophysical Society, which she helped found in 1960, and chaired in 1981.

In addition to her membership of many eminent national and international scientific bodies and societies, Pauline also serves as Chair of the Sheffield University Fine Arts Society, and has a keen and active interest in painting.

Image reproduced courtesy of Anton Want. Protected by copyright.