A lifelong interest in biology resulted in Alison Cooper reading for a degree in Natural Sciences. During this a developing interest in neuroscience led to a PhD in the laboratory of Alan Crossman in the neuroanatomy department at the University of Manchester. The laboratory had a reputation for work elucidating the neuroanatomical and neurochemical basis of basal ganglia an dysfunction, particularly in relation to movement. The behavioural pharmacology aspects of the PhD required Alison to acquire skills which, at the time, were going out of fashion, but which are now recognised to be deficient in the science base, particularly in relation to drug discovery. Subsequent post doctoral positions continued with the basal ganglia focus and included work on behavioural pharmacology but with a shift in focus to the motivational functions believed to be mediated by these structures. This was followed by a period looking at the electrophysiological properties of neurones of the basal ganglia correlated with their neurochemistry. During the post doctoral phase, Alison was required to undertake some teaching and, to her initial surprise, enjoyed this and actively sought out more teaching opportunities. This led to her being appointed as a teaching fellow at Birmingham which became a lectureship followed by promotion to senior lecturer on the basis of the extent and expertise required for her diverse teaching and administrative role.