Professor Sir Colin BlakemoreBack to People

Department: Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics
College appointment: Emeritus Fellow
Phone: 07802 291059


I studied Medical Sciences in Cambridge, did a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and taught in Cambridge (at the Physiological Laboratory and Downing College) for 11 years. I moved to Oxford in October 1979 to take up the Waynflete Chair of Physiology and a Professorial Fellowship at Magdalen. I held those positions until July 2007. From 1990-96 I directed the McDonnell-Pew Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and from 1996-2003 the Oxford Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. Between 2003 and 2007 I was on Special Leave, serving as Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council and from 2007-12, I was Professor of Neuroscience in the University and a Supernumerary Fellow at Magdalen.

Research interests

In October 2012 I took up a newly created Professorship of Neuroscience & Philosophy at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where I direct a Centre for the Study of the Senses. I am leading a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which involves philosophers and cognitive neuroscientists working together to define key questions about human perception. In Oxford I maintain a research interest in the very early stages of development of the human embryonic brain. My colleagues and I are studying the way in which neurons are born, distribute themselves and form connections in the embryonic forebrain.

Selected recent publications

  • LYNALL, M-E. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2013) What synaesthesia isn’t. In The Oxford Handbook of Synaesthesia, ed. Simner, J. & Hubbard, E. Oxford, Oxford University Press (in the press)
  • NICCOLAI, V., van LEEUWEN, T.M., BLAKEMORE, C. & STOERIG, P. (2012) Synaesthetic perception of colour and visual space in a blind subject: an fMRI case study. Consciousness and Cognition 21: 889-899.
  • BLAKEMORE. C., MACARTHUR CLARK, J., NEVALAINEN, T, OBERDORFER, M & SUSSMAN, A. (2012) Implementing the 3Rs in neuroscience research: a reasoned approach. Neuron 75: 948-950.
  • BLAKEMORE, C. (2010) Cognition, computation and consciousness. In Science Sees Further, Royal Society, London, 14-15.
  • LIANG, M., THILO, K. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2009) Temporal dynamics of visual-tactile crossmodal interaction: an ERP study. NeuroImage 47: 39-41.
  • VAN DELLEN, A., CORDERY, P.M., SPIRES, T.L., BLAKEMORE., C. & HANNAN, A.J. (2008) Wheel running from a juvenile age delays onset of specific motor deficits but does not alter protein aggregate density in a mouse model of Huntington’s disease. BMC Neuroscience 9: 34.
  • BESTMANN, S., RUFF, C.S., BLAKEMORE, C., DRIVER, J & THILO, K.V. (2007) Spatial attention changes excitability of human visual cortex to direct stimulation. Current Biol. 17: 134-9.
  • BYSTRON, I., RAKIC, P., MOLNÁR, Z. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2006) The first neurons of the human cerebral cortex. Nature Neuroscience 9: 880-6.
  • GOYAL, M.S., HANSEN, P. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2006) Tactile perception recruits functionally related visual areas in the late-blind. Neuroreport 17: 1381-4.
  • KEMP, M. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2006) Hearing colours, seeing sounds. Wassily Kandinsky’s synaesthetic paintings go on show in London.  Nature 442: 514.
  • STEVEN, M.S., HANSEN, P.C. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2006) Activation of color-selective areas of visual cortex in a blind synesthete. Cortex 42: 304-8.
  • BLAKEMORE, C. (2005) In celebration of cerebration. Lancet 366: 2035-57.
  • STEVEN, M.S. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2004) Visual synaesthesia in the blind. Perception 33: 855-868.
  • THILO, K.V., SANTORO, L., WALSH, V. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2004) The site of saccadic suppression. Nature Neurosci. 7: 13-14.
  • SANTORO, L., HANSEN, P. & BLAKEMORE, C. (2003) Object motion, with or without retinal motion, activates human cortical area MT+.  J. Physiol. 548P: O74.