An Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience, Mark joined Oxford in 2007 when he was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at St John's College Oxford, working on attention and memory with Kia Nobre in the Brain and Cognition Laboratory. He was awarded an MRC Career Development Fellowship in 2012 to explore the neural basis of selective inhibition as a principal investigator in Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology. He was also awarded the title of University Research Lecturer and elected to a Science Research Fellowship at St John's College.
Mark had moved to the UK in 2004 from Australia, where he was an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne, and completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge.
Professor Kia Nobre has written in tribute:
"It is with a broken heart that I write to let you know that our dear colleague and friend, Mark Stokes passed away around 7:00pm on 13 January at Sobell House. Mark spent his last days lucidly and courageously in harmony, tenderness, and love with his family members.
"Mark battled his vicious cancer for longer than all odds. In his final days, he reflected he was happy with what he managed to achieve in the time. He spent sunny joyous times travelling and hanging out with his young children, planting fertile seeds for future memories.
"Mark worked on the foundations of cognition and changed how we think. In his casual understated way, he combined broad scholarship, deep inquisitiveness, and gifted craftsmanship to shift understanding beyond established tenets and open new spaces for exploration. His work unshackled working memory from its static representational explanation as the consistent firing of neurons and created dynamic functional possibilities with synaptic plasticity, silent coding, and future-facing states.
"Mark’s pioneering spirit of enquiry was contagious. He brought all along with his brimming curiosity, sharp analyses, probing questions, and alternative perspectives and with his good humour, friendly banter, caring attentiveness, and a twinkle in his eyes. He made us better scientists and better people.
"He left us too soon. Now, it is up to us to carry his vital brilliance and warmth forward."