By: Georgina Ferry | Geoffrey Burnstock obituary | Neuroscience | The Guardian
Neuroscientists typically go into the field because they are captivated by the mystery of how the physical matter of the brain processes all our thoughts, emotions and sensations. Geoffrey Burnstock, who has died aged 91, started with an interest in the nerves that control the guts of guinea pigs, and discovered a completely unexpected and ubiquitous signalling system that plays a role in pain, blood clotting and immunity as well as a wide range of brain functions.
A self-described “oddball”, Burnstock never ignored an unexpected result, or discounted it because it did not fit the conventional view. He made the highly controversial discovery that ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a molecule well known to biochemists for its role as a source of energy inside cells, could also transmit signals between them.