Barry Blackwell: In Memory of David C. Taylor (1933 - 2021)


Barry Blackwell: David Taylor’s contributions to Temporal Lobe Epilepsy


        On December 3, 2012, The American Epilepsy Society and the Lennox & Lombroso Epilepsy Research & Training Society convened their annual meeting in San Diego to award David C. Taylor its William G. Lennox Award.

        The reasons for doing so are described as follows:

        “The award recognizes Professor Taylor for his extraordinary influence and seminal research on the social, economic and psychological effects of epilepsy surgery on patient’s with medically refractory seizures. He was first to describe focal cortical dysplasia, named after him, as one of the causes of temporal lobe epilepsy. His thoughtful and penetrating research and writings challenged popular concepts of epilepsy and behavior providing seminal insights that have altered diagnosis, treatment and research on the behavioral aspects of both childhood and adult epilepsy and completely altered the way experts think about the results of epilepsy surgery.

        “Professor Taylor’s landmark contributions began early in his career as a Resident at the Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry assigned to Murray Falconer’s Neurosurgery Unit. This led to a post at Oxford University and the Park Hospital for Children, collaborating with Dr. Christopher Ounsted, work many consider created the field of child psychiatry in Britain and led to the Park Hospital becoming the National Centre for Children with Epilepsy.

        “He was the first to describe the effects of surgery on the course of epilepsy as well as a gender difference in how rapidly the brain develops; findings from follow-up interviews he conducted on 100 post-surgical temporal lobe epilepsy patients, usually in their homes, an extraordinary commitment to the advancement of contemporary understanding, considered a tour-de force unlikely to ever be repeated.”

        David Taylor went on to become Head of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Manchester where he was an empathic and well-respected mentor of the next generation, as well as a sought after lecturer to faculties in UK and around the world.

        David spent retirement in the small village of Fifield, outside Oxford, a diligent gardener, talented artist and generous host for friends and former colleagues, living alongside his wife Karin Moses (also a child psychiatrist) and mother of their daughter, Hanna.


September 23, 2021