Colin Blakemore

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.