Public Release: 

Dr. Brenda Milner - first foreign associate of the NAS to receive Award in the Neurosciences

McGill University

Montreal,- January 16, 2004 - Dr. Brenda Milner will receive the 2004 Award in the Neurosciences from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) headquartered in Washington, DC. The $25,000 US prize is awarded every three years in recognition of extraordinary contributions to progress in the fields of neuroscience. Dr. Milner is the Dorothy J. Killam Professor, Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), and a professor in the department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University. She is the first scientist outside of the United States to receive this award which will be presented on April 19 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

"We are absolutely delighted that Dr. Milner will receive the Award in the Neurosciences from the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. This is a highly prestigious award with a Nobel Laureate and Lasker Award winners amongst the previous recipients. Through her lifetime of research and teaching here at the MNI and McGill, Brenda Milner has had an extraordinary influence on the shape of neuroscience and on the lives of scientists around the world," said Dr. David Colman, Director of the MNI. "From her seminal work in the 1950's with Donald Hebb, Wilder Penfield, and William Scoville to 2004, Brenda continues to advance our knowledge and understanding of the brain and be a valued colleague".

"Brenda Milner is one of the giants of our time. Her delineation of memory dysfunction after lesions of the hippocampus has provided the basis for modern understanding of memory and for the divisions of memory storage mechanisms into explicit and implicit forms", said Dr. Eric Kandel, University Professor in the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University (New York), Senior Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Nobel laureate (Physiology or Medicine, 2000) and MNI Advisory Board Member. "The origins of modern cognitive neuroscience of memory can be traced directly to her rigorous and imaginative studies."

Dr. Milner's current research focuses on the specialization of the brain hemispheres. She and her colleagues are using sophisticated brain imaging technologies to examine differences between the right and left hemispheres. Dr. Milner is particularly interested in the role of the right hemisphere in remembering the location of objects.

Dr. Milner is a prestigious foreign associate of the NAS- one of only 14 from Canada. She was elected to the Academy in 1976. Dr. Milner is the recipient of more than two dozen honorary degrees and professional awards. She is a fellow of the Royal Society and holds the Order of Canada.

The NAS Award in the Neurosciences was established by a gift from the Fidia Research Foundation and has been presented since 1988. The award is open to the international scientific community and past recipients include Nobel laureate Dr. Paul Greengard and Lasker Awardees Drs. Vernon Mountcastle, Seymour Kety, Seymour Benzer and Louis Sokoloff. For more information on the NAS, please see

The Montreal Neurological Institute ( is a McGill University ( research and teaching institute, dedicated to the study of the nervous system and neurological diseases. Since its founding in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, the MNI has helped put Canada on the international map. It is one of the world's largest institutes of its kind; MNI researchers are world leaders in biotechnology, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders.


For further information or to arrange to interview with Dr. Milner, please contact:
Dr. Sandra McPherson
Montreal Neurological Institute
Tel: 514-398-1902
Fax: 514-398-8072

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