Stroke of a Genius

As well as collaborating with artists to gain new perspectives on neuroscience, he has looked into the neuroscience of creativity itself, studying a former builder who developed an insatiable need to create – painting, drawing, writing and sculpting – after suffering a stroke.  This unusual case, which was published in the journal Neurology by Dr Lythgoe, has now been made the subject of a Channel 4 and National Geographic programme that aims to discus the wider issues of the neurobiology of creativity.

Climbing and other activities

Mark has also lived and worked in many different counties and environments.  At 21 he served his apprenticeship in a Manchester factory as a semi-skilled extrusionist, making flexible plastic pipes.  Next a rather painful experience in Israel as the dog-trainer’s-dummy, before progressing to the more comfortable end of the dog as attack dog trainer.  Following which he moved to outback of Australia working as a researcher on board the ‘flying-doctor’ flights investigating the prevalence of tuberculosis in the Aboriginal population.


Climbing was always a passion with Mark and after spending several seasons in the Italian Dolomites and Pyrenees, as well as trips to Kenya, he moved to South America climbing many of the inaccessible peaks.   After several expeditions and a difficult experience on Sangay, the most active volcano in South America, together with the loss of several friends on other expeditions, Mark retuned for a rest and an academic life starting with a PhD in Biophysics from University College London.