In memory of Professor Sir Colin Blakemore

28 Jun 2022

Prof. Sir Colin Blakemore
Prof. Sir Colin Blakemore
(1944 - 2022)
Chair Professor
Department of Neuroscience
Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences

We are deeply saddened to inform our colleagues that Professor Sir Colin Blakemore, Yeung Kin Man Chair Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Neuroscience, passed away in England on 27 June 2022, surrounded by his immediate family.

Professor Sir Colin Blakemore held Honorary Professorships at the Universities of London and Oxford. After studying medicine at Cambridge and completing a PhD at Berkeley, he worked in the medical schools of Cambridge and Oxford for more than 40 years, and then led an interdisciplinary group studying human perception at the School of Advanced Study in London. He had been President of the British Science Association, the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the Royal Society of Biology. He was a member of 12 scientific academies, including the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. His research had focused on vision, the development of the brain, and neurodegenerative disease. He was one of the first to demonstrate brain plasticity – the reorganisation of functional connectivity between neurons in response to sensory experience.

He was a world-renowned neuroscientist with enormous contributions to the field of Neuroscience, and significantly advanced our understanding of vision, and how the brain develops and adapts. Professor Blakemore was highly influential in demonstrating ‘neural plasticity’ - how brain cells reorganise themselves in response to the environment after birth and even in adulthood. His passing has rid the world of a science giant, gifted and influential administrator, and formative mentor to many. He had contributed enormously not only to his beloved area of study, Cognitive Neuroscience, but to Medicine and Life Sciences much more generally.

Professor Sir Colin Blakemore joined the Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study in May 2017 as a Senior Fellow and the Department of Biomedical Sciences as a Chair Professor. He then joined our Department as a Chair Professor, also a founding member of our department when it established in 2019. Professor Sir Colin Blakemore has touched and influenced people around the globe – scientist or not. His unique warmth and fundamental kindness, bottomless magnanimity, and the unmatched concern for his fellow earthlings will be the most lasting memory of those that had the privilege to know him.

Department of Neuroscience
City University of Hong Kong

Read Professor Blakemore’s obituary in Nature here.