Hugh Maclennan bookHugh Maclennan book


McGill professor Hugh MacLennan publishes The Watch that Ends the Night, an award-winning novel set in 1930s Montreal. With this and other works, MacLennan helped define a literature that was distinctly Canadian.


Determined to push the frontiers of science, undergraduate Thomas Chang, now the Director of McGill's Artificial Cells and Organs Research Centre, builds a makeshift lab inside his McGill dormitory room and invents the world's first artificial cell.

In a landmark event in neuroscience, the Montreal Neurological Institute's K.A.C. Elliot leads a team of researchers to the discovery of the first inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Today GABA is linked to various neurological conditions, including epilepsy, and is known to suppress nerve impulses related to stress and anxiety.

During Canada's first successful open-heart surgery, Leon Katz plays the vital role of perfusionist, the person who operates the heart-lung bypass machine. Not only did Katz run the machine, he built it — the country's first.


Brenda Milner McGill neuropsychologist Brenda Milner of the Montreal Neurological Institute discovers that the hippocampus is largely responsible for how brains memorize facts and transform short-term memories for long-term retention. Her discovery revolutionizes the study of memory worldwide.


McGill researcher Heinz Lehmann, working at the Douglas Hospital, begins his pioneering work on chlorpromazine, a drug for schizophrenia. Through extensive clinical trials, the drug is proven to effectively alleviate symptoms, helping many patients return to a normal life. His introduction of powerful medications to treat mental illness helps to shape modern psychiatric care.


McGill researcher Frank Clarke Fraser establishes the first medical genetics clinic in a Canadian hospital at the Montreal Children's Hospital almost immediately after graduation from medical school. Fraser is also a pioneer in the field of teratology, a method of studying development by investigating the effects of prenatal maternal exposure to environmental agents.

Wilder Penfield at the blackboardWith the help of his colleagues at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield builds on the work of Otfried Foerster to develop the groundbreaking "Montreal Procedure," a surgical technique that uses local anesthetic to keep the patient conscious and responding to questions while the surgeon stimulates parts of the brain. By using this method, Penfield created functional maps of the cortex (surface) of the brain.