Ashish Ranpura, MD, pHD

Presenting a toy to Henry

Ashish Ranpura is a neurologist and neuroscientist active in brain research focused on mood disorders and epilepsy. After completing a clinical residency in adult neurology at Yale-New Haven Hospital, he moved with with his wife, the novelist Susan Elderkin, and their son to Somerset, England where he co-founded Café Scientifique at the Photographers’ Gallery in London. A founding editor at BrainConnection magazine in San Francisco, he has also been a writer at National Public Radio’s “Science Friday” in New York.

In 2018 Ash co-wrote the book How to Be Human: The Manual with the performer Ruby Wax and Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten about mindfulness and the brain.

I first met Ash in 2000, when we were editorial colleagues at BrainConnection. Though already a gifted scientist and writer, Ash had yet to choose his medical training path. Fifteen years later, I arrived at his home in New Haven, Connecticut, where he and Susan were living with their young son, and Ash was finishing his residency in adult neurology. Though I arrived as a house guest, I couldn’t resist asking Ash if we might sit down and film a conversation exploring his experiences and views on using animals in research. Among the topics we discussed are how physicians learn to detach from human patients and animal subjects, the tension between curiosity and morality, and the conditions animal endure when they are involved in experiments.

The Interview

Animal Models and Brain Research

Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Animal Experimentation

Thoughts On Invasive Animal Research

Animal Models vs Human Models

The Tension Between Morality and Scientific Inquiry.

Drawing Insights From Animal Models

Children and Early Experimentation Experiences