Vazha M Okujava

1930 - 2011

Professor Vazha Okujava, full member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, honored scientist, doctor of medical sciences and an active member of ILAE died on March 14, 2011 aged 81. He passed away as an eminent scientist, a brilliant experimenter, a remarkable organizer of science, an extraordinary teacher and an extremely kind, sympathetic and wise researcher.

Professor Okujava was born on Feb. 25, 1930. He graduated from the Tbilisi State Medical University. In 1960, he defended the thesis for the degree of candidate of medical sciences, and in 1969 for Doctor of Sciences. In 1969, he became a professor of human and animal physiology.

In 1974, he was elected as a Full Member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences. From 1973 to 1975, Prof. Okujava was a Vice-Rector of Tbilisi State Medical University, and from 1975 to 1980 he was Academician-Secretary of the Department of Physiology, Georgian Academy of Sciences. From 1980-1985, he was a Rector of the Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. He led the Centre for Experimental Neurology from 1961 up to the end of his life.

His research accomplishments in experimental neurology are well known: neurophysiological mechanisms of epilepsy; neurophysiological mechanisms of sleep-wakefulness cycle and its disorders; neurological electrodiagnostics; experimental and clinical neuropharmacology – pharmacological monitoring, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of antiepileptic drugs; behavioral research: memory and memory disorders, modeling of psychopathology.

Having broad scientific interests, epileptology was always his essential field of research. He was one of the founders of the internationally accepted epileptological scientific school in Georgia, which was leading in this medical speciality in the former Soviet Union. Twice (in 1978 and 1982) he was the organizer of very important International IBRO Symposia on Neurophysiological Mechanisms of Epilepsy in Tbilisi where many prominent epileptologists from different parts of the world participated.

In 1975, Professor Okujava became the President of the Georgian Physiological Society and maintained this position for the rest of his life. In 1975, he also was named Chief Editor of the Proceedings of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, Biomedical Series, and a Member of the editorial boards of the international journals “Neurophysiology,” “Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology” and “Epilepsy Research”

Professor Okujava's monographs and articles are published in many languages, and they have earned him a well-deserved reputation. They relate both to the fundamental problems of neurophysiology and issues of clinical neurology.