US: Ben Barres, transgender brain researcher and advocate of diversity in science, dies at 63

Ben Barres, a neurobiologist who made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the structure and function of the brain that may have implications for understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative disorders, and who, as a transgender man, became an outspoken opponent of gender bias in science, died Dec. 27 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 63.

His death was announced by the Stanford University, where he was a professor of neurobiology in the medical school. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Barres was one of the world’s leading researchers on glial cells, which are the most numerous structures in the brain but whose purpose was almost a complete mystery.

“Until Ben grabbed hold of this, there was very little known about what they did in the brain,” Beth Stevens, a Harvard University professor and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient who studied with Dr. Barres, said in an interview. “He made a remarkable number of discoveries and launched many avenues of research. He started a whole new field.” Read more via Washington Post