by Liliana Baltra
Prof. Rawlins, a distinguished neuroscientist from the University of Oxford, visited Oxford alumni in Mexico in 2017 and 2018. The first time he met us he gave a lecture at the Ambassador’s residence on the functioning and mysteries of the brain that neuroscience has unveiled for us.
Prof. Rawlins has spent years researching the hippocampus, a brain structure embedded deep in the temporal lobe of each cerebral cortex, which is especially vulnerable to damage at early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. On that occasion, Prof. Rawlins’ lecture centered on the brain damage associated with the disease.
He later paid us a visit as Pro-Vice Chancellor of Development and External Affairs and we organized a social gathering with drinks for him at Piso 51 at Torre Mayor, so that he could enjoy the wonderful view of the city at twilight from up high. I personally had a chance to talk to him and was delighted to learn that my best English friend’s only son had been his student at Oxford!
Prof. Rawlins is now based in Hong Kong, totally entranced with learning Chinese culture. He is the Master of Morningside College, part of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). From there he sends us the following message:
‘Loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression help to cause shrinkage in the hippocampus. Happiness and exercise, on the other hand, help keep it plump. The secrets of the brain are beginning to be unraveled little by little, which will keep neuroscientists fascinated for a long time to come.’