Robert Vink is considered a pioneer in the field of traumatic brain injury. He was the first to apply magnetic resonance techniques to the study of energy metabolism in brain injury, and subsequently discovered and characterised the critical role of magnesium in the secondary injury cascade following neurotrauma. Serum magnesium concentration is now carefully controlled in brain injury patients. His research continues to advance the understanding of acute brain injury, having recently identified substance P’s role in raised intracranial pressure. This has resulted in the development of a novel class of drugs that reduce pressure and potentially prevent posttraumatic neurodegeneration.