WASHINGTON — Ken Barres, a neurobiologist who made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the structure and function of the brain that may have implications for understanding Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative disorders and who, as a transgender man, became an outspoken opponent of gender bias in science, died Dec. 27 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif., according to the Washington Post. He was 63.
His death was announced by Stanford University where he was a professor of neurobiology in the medical school. He died of pancreatic cancer, the Post reports.
Barres was one of the world’s leading researchers on glial cells, which are the most numerous structures in the brain but whose purpose was largely a mystery, the Post reports.
Barres began his scientific career when he was known as Barbara Barres. He came out as trans in 1997 and spoke of the vast differences he experienced working as a woman in science vs. as a man.
“People who don’t know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect,” he wrote according to the Post. “I can even complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by a man.”