Sir Colin Blakemore receives College of Optometrists award

Friday 26 January 2018

Image: Dr Mary-Ann Sherratt, president of the College of Optometrists, and Professor Sir Colin Blakemore.

Sir Colin Blakemore, professor of neuroscience and philosophy at the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, has been awarded the President’s Research Medal, the College of Optometrists’ most prestigious honour. It was presented at the Wellcome Collection on 25 January when Professor Blakemore delivered the College’s Research Excellence Lecture, ‘A visual experience’, to a packed audience that included leading members of the optometric research community.

Speaking after the event, Professor Blakemore said: ‘It’s a very special honour to receive the Research Excellence Medal from the College of Optometrists and to give the Research Excellence Lecture. Although I didn’t train as an optometrist, I have a strong association with the profession. I did my PhD in the School of Optometry in Berkeley, California, and the contact with teachers, researchers, clinicians and students in optometry had a deep effect on me, and on my research.’

The President’s Research Medal is given every four years. It recognises and celebrates outstanding contributions to research in the optometry, optics and vision science fields.

Dr Mary-Ann Sherratt, president of the College, said she was particularly pleased to present the award to Sir Colin, who gave the Charter Lecture at the Optometry Tomorrow conference in 2016, and has for many years been a ‘great friend to the profession’. She added: ‘Research is a crucial basis for any profession, and the research commissioned at the College has played a critical role in the evolution of the evidence base for optometry, allowing practising optometrists to advise patients on the most efficient and cost effective treatments.’

About Professor Blakemore
Professor Blakemore studied medical sciences at Cambridge, did a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley and then taught at Cambridge for 11 years. In 1979 he moved to Oxford as Waynflete Professor of Physiology, and was also director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. From 2003 to 2007 he was chief executive of the Medical Research Council, and moved to the School of Advanced Study in 2012. His research has been concerned with vision, development and plasticity of the brain and neurodegenerative disease. He has been president of the British Science Association, the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the Society of Biology. He is also passionately committed to engagement between science and the public, and to the importance of science in government. He was knighted in 2014 for ‘services to scientific research, policy and outreach’.