Public Release: 

The 2014 Wilder-Penfield Prize goes to Michael Meaney

Douglas Mental Health University Institute

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IMAGE: Michael Meaney is a prominent researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal. view more

Credit: Douglas Mental Health University Institute

This news release is available in French.

Montréal, November 3, 2014 - The Douglas Mental Health University Institute is proud to announce that its researcher and neurobiologist, Michael Meaney, C.M., Ph.D., C.Q., FRSC, is the 2014 laureate of the prestigious prix Wilder-Penfield.

This award applauds the career of a scientist working in the field of biomedicine. Michael Meaney is one of the first researchers to show how maternal care can modify the cognitive development of offspring. The mother-child relationship influences the expression of genes responsible for behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to stress, as well as hippocampal synaptic development.

The prix Wilder-Penfield is one of the 14 prizes awarded to outstanding Quebecers by the Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, Hélène David, and by the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Exports.

Michael Meaney is a researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. At McGill University, he is both the Director of the Program for the Study of Behaviour, Genes and Environment as well as James McGill Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology and Neurosurgery. In addition, he heads the Ludmer Centre, the world's first to integrate genomic, epigenetic, and mental health research as well as informatics.

"Dr. Meaney is a giant name in the field of epigenetics and mental health. This well-merited prize awards his very hard work," says Lynne McVey, Executive Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.

A career marked by honours

Throughout his research career, Michael Meaney has received numerous prizes and distinctions, including the recent Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize, a testament to his innovative discoveries in biology and child development. Among other achievements, he is a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec (2007) and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2009, he and colleagues Gustavo Turecki, MD, PhD, a Douglas Institute psychiatrist and McGill University Professor of Psychiatry, and Moshe Zsyf, PhD, a McGill researcher in epigenetics and psychobiology, received the Scientist of the Year Award from the Les années lumière radio show on Radio-Canada. In 2007, Dr. Meaney was recognized as the "Most Highly Cited Scientist in the Area of Neuroscience" by the Institute for Scientific Information.

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About the prix Wilder-Penfield

The prize is named after Wilder Penfield (1891-1976), a world-renowned neurosurgeon and neurologist who founded the Montreal Neurological Institute in 1934 and led this Institute for 25 years.

For information and interviews:

Florence Meney
Media Relations
Communications and Public Affairs Directorate
Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Dobell Pav.- 6875 LaSalle Blvd., B-2122 - Montreal, QC H4H 1R3
T. 514-761-6131, ext. 2769
Florence.meney@douglas.mcgill.ca

About the Douglas Institute

The Douglas is a world-class institute affiliated with McGill University and the World Health Organization. It treats people suffering from mental illness and offers them both hope and healing. Its teams of specialists and researchers are constantly increasing scientific knowledge, integrating this knowledge into patient care, and sharing it with the community in order to educate the public and eliminate prejudices surrounding mental health.

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