Valentine Leonidovich SILAKOV

November 20, 1941July 13, 2020

Valentine Silakov passed away from an acute stroke on July 13, 2020 at the Cherry Hill Swedish Hospital in Seattle. Born in Russia, on November 20, 1941, and having grown up in post-war Saint-Petersburg, then Leningrad, Valentine overcame the aftermath and the devastation of the World War Two to enter the First Leningrad Medical University with perfect entrance exam scores. A brilliant and hard-working student, he quickly pursued a specialization in Neuroscience and Physiology.

After graduating from medical school with distinction for high achievement, Valentine received his PhD. in Physiology and Neuroscience in 1969. In 1975, he earned his Doctorate degree in the same field. For many years, Valentine led the Neurophysiology laboratory at the Pavlov Department of Physiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. In 1987 he joined the Pavlov Institute of Physiology, the Russian Academy of Sciences and became the head of the laboratory of Physiology of Primate Behavior. His dedication to the field of Physiology as a whole, as well as his vast knowledge and creativity were striking. Valentine was a role model to many as both a scientist and a kind, noble man of firm conviction. He wrote close to 150 articles for high level scientific journals in Russia and internationally. Despite living and working in the Soviet Union and being limited by the constraints of the Soviet regime, he persevered, in the interest of science, to seek collaboration with scientists from around the world. He traveled to Japan, Hungary and the United States to share the results of his research. He authored and published several books throughout his academic career, including Regulation of Central Vision Mechanisms, Plasticity of Visceral Analysis, Neurophysiology of Severe Brain Trauma and The Neocortex: Compensatory Plasticity. His research played an important part in developing rehabilitation treatments for patients with brain trauma.

In 1992 Valentine immigrated to the United States to join the Department of Neurology at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut. In the next few years, he and his colleagues published four papers in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

In 2002, at 60 years old, Valentine decided to change his career path. He taught himself computer science and programming and soon joined the CSC at Lockheed Martin, where he worked as a computer engineer for the next 11 years.

For the past five years Valentine lived in Queen Anne in Seattle, spending most of his time reading, taking walks with his lifelong partner and wife Janna, and visiting his grandchildren. He felt a deep connection with the natural beauty of the Pacific North West and the tight-knit community of Queen Anne. Valentine will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and former colleagues. A fascinating erudite and a history buff, an avid outdoors-man, who loved camping and sports, Valentine was a pillar of strength and wisdom for his loving family and friends. Valentine will be remembered for his sense of humor, his keen intellect, and his unconditional love for his family and especially for his grandchildren. His unwavering spirit will always live on in their hearts. A private family graveside ceremony will be held.


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Valentine Leonidovich SILAKOV

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