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Professor Geoffrey Raisman, FRS, Chair of Neural Regeneration, UCL Institute of Neurology died on Friday 27 January 2017

31 January 2017

Professor Raisman

Geoffrey joined the Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation at the UCL Institute of Neurology in 2005 where he established a dedicated Spinal Repair Unit at Queen Square. Previously (1974 to 2004), Geoffrey was the Head of the Division of Neurobiology at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill.

Geoffrey was a pioneer in his field, developing new approaches to improving recovery from spinal injury. His ground-breaking work has been recognised by election as Fellow of the Royal Society (2001) and to the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999). Geoffrey was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (2002).

Geoffrey received numerous prizes and awards, including the Wakeman Award for Research in Neurosciences (1980), the British Neuroscience Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Neuroscience (2004), and the Reeve-Irvine Medal (2005) for critical contributions to promoting repair of the damaged spinal cord and recovery of function. His team discovered that olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) can help guide regeneration of nerve fibres. Together with Professor Ying Li and Dr Daqing Li, the team has shown that transplantation of these cells into spinal cord injuries in laboratory models results in regeneration of severed nerve fibres and restoration of function. The team is now working on the practical steps needed to apply this approach to spinal cord and optic nerve injury.

Geoffrey was an inspiration to the many colleagues and students that he worked with. He was a truly exceptional and gifted person and his death represents a major loss to the neural regeneration research field and to UCL.

Our thoughts are with his wife and family.

"Geoffrey Raisman was a true pioneer of spinal cord injury science and a world leader in this area. He was deeply committed to translating his science to benefit patients. He leaves a lasting research legacy and a very active group continuing his work. We were all very proud to have him as a colleague at UCL and at the Institute of Neurology; he will be greatly missed." Professor Michael Hanna, Director of the UCL Institute of Neurology.