Tribute to Professor Stephen 'Mac' McMahon 1954 - 2021

Earlier this month saw the sad passing of Prof Steve McMahon (Mac), who died peacefully at home with his family on the 9th of October.

Known informally as Mac, he was a much loved and respected colleague, mentor and friend to many in the research community. He was also a long-time and passionate supporter of the International Spinal Research Trust.  He  served on our scientific committee for many years, helped shaping the Trust’s Research Strategy for decades, actively contributed to our annual Network Meetings and mentored some of our talented PhD students.

Professor McMahon gained his BSc (Hons) and PhD at the University of Leeds before becoming a post-doc and lecturer at University College London. He moved to King’s College London in 1984 where he established his own research group within the St. Thomas’ Hospital Medical School and was promoted to Sherrington Professor of Physiology in 1996.

In 2004 he moved to the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases in the School of Neuroscience at IoPPN in 2004, where he continued to lead a diverse programme of research, primarily focusing on mechanisms of pain and somatosensation.

His research has contributed to various clinical trials of potential novel therapies. In particular, he was a strong proponent of the wider dissemination of scientific research to younger scientists and the general public.

Professor McMahon leaves a legacy of research, publishing more than 300 original research articles, and was co-editor of the Textbook of Pain. His work has been published in leading scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Cell, Neuron and Brain. He was an Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999 and the recipient of the British Neuroscience Association’s Outstanding Contribution to Neuroscience award in 2019.

Spinal Research would like to pay tribute to Mac, not only for his contribution in the field of research, but also for the energy, enthusiasm, passion and camaraderie he bought to his work.

Our thoughts, and condolences go out to his wife Sara, and his three children Emma, Arun and Jazzy.

A page has been set up to raise funds for the charity Freedom from Torture, which Professor McMahon has supported for many years.