Skip to content
Fellows Directory

Colin Blakemore

Credit: Sir Colin Blakemore

Sir Colin Blakemore FMedSci FRS

Fellow


Elected: 1992

Biography

Colin Blakemore is a neuroscientist who has contributed to our understanding of vision, and how the brain develops and adapts. Colin was influential in demonstrating ‘neural plasticity’ — how brain cells reorganise themselves in response to the environment after birth and even in adulthood.

By depriving one eye of sight in immature mammals, and then restoring vision to the deprived eye, Colin showed how nerve impulses from the eyes maintain connections into the brain. He went on to unravel the genetic mechanisms that enable nerve cells to regulate their own inputs. His work using brain imaging further emphasised the plasticity of the brain; he showed that formerly visual parts of the cortex ‘light up’ in response to touch in people who have been blind since infancy.

Colin is well known for his passionate belief in the importance of public engagement, particularly around the use of animals in research. He has held several influential positions, including head of the Medical Research Council, and received a knighthood in 2014 for services to scientific research, policy and outreach.

Professional positions

Director, Centre for the Study of the Senses, University of London
Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience, Department Of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford
Former Chief Executive, Medical Research Council (MRC)
Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford
Trustee of the Board, The Pilgrim Trust

Interests and expertise

Subject groups

Awards

  • Ferrier Medal and Lecture

    On 'Plasticity of the brain: the key to human development, cognition and evolution'.

  • Michael Faraday Prize

    For his written, broadcast and public presentations on the science of the brain, which are superbly crafted for lay and expert audiences alike.

  • Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture

    For his written, broadcast and public presentations on the science of the brain, which are superbly crafted for lay and expert audiences alike.