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Professor Colin Blakemore receives knighthood

16 June 2014
Appeared in BioNews 758

Professor Colin Blakemore, a neuroscientist and defender of animal research, has been knighted in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.

Professor Blakemore was chief executive of the Medical Research Council between 2003 and 2007 and is currently director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the University of London's School of Advanced Study. He is also a member of the advisory board at the Progress Educational Trust, the organisation that publishes BioNews.

Professor Blakemore is recognised for his contributions to research and for his role in science communication. His defence of experiments on animals provoked controversy among animal rights campaigners and he continued to justify the research to the media amid threats of physical violence and abuse.

'There were times I was shocked by what happened to me - razor blades in envelopes, bombs, threats against my kids - but I never doubted the principle of public engagement', he told the BBC.

'I think we have an obligation. If the scientists themselves are always just anonymous figures behind the scenes, then I think the public have reason to be suspicious about our motives.

'It is important for science to be in the public arena including the difficult things such as animal research, climate change or stem cells', he said.

Commenting on the news, Richard Morris, professor of neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, said: 'I am delighted to learn that Colin Blakemore's many contributions to science, to the public communication of science, and to charitable causes related to medicine have now been recognised by the country he loves'.

'He has been a tireless campaigner for an evidence-based approach to all of these causes. Biomedical science in the United Kingdom owes much to him, even now as he continues with new research on brain and mind'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Animal experiment scientist finally receives a knighthood
The Telegraph |  13 June 2014
Prof Colin Blakemore: Medical research defender knighted
BBC News |  13 June 2014
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