Geoffrey Raisman, M.D., Ph.D., FRS
Geoffrey Raisman, M.D., Ph.D., FRS, is head of the division of neurobiology at the Research Centre of the British Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research. His research is on plasticity, especially the use of transplantation to reconnect severed nerve fibers following brain or spinal cord injury.
The Idea That Scandalized Brain Science
Many neuroscientists say that the most startling about-face in their field has been the abandonment of the idea, once gospel, that the adult central nervous system has a fixed endpoint of development. Since no new nerve cells ever grew, repair—for example of a severed spinal cord—was out of the question. The revolution that shattered this orthodoxy is called “plasticity.” The scientist who coined that term reflects on how the implications of plasticity keep nudging us to reformulate basic questions about the brain.