Prestigious Pearl Meister Greengard Prize awarded to pioneering memory researcher Brenda Milner


$100,000 prize honors female scientists who have made extraordinary contributions to biomedical science

Dr. Brenda Milner, a pioneer in the field of cognitive neuroscience whose discoveries revolutionized the understanding of memory, is the 2011 recipient of the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize. The award will be presented to her today by Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women and former president of Chile, at a ceremony at Rockefeller University, New York. The prize, which carries an honorarium of $100,000, recognizes female scientists who have made exceptional contributions to biomedical science, a group that historically has not received appropriate recognition and acclaim.

Dr. Milner, Dorothy J. Killam Professor at McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Institute has spent six decades unraveling the mysteries of the brain, and she has been credited by Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel with merging the fields of psychology and neurobiology to create the field of cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Milner’s seminal research has provided landmark discoveries in the study of human memory and the brain’s temporal lobes, which play a key role in emotional responses, hearing, memory and speech.

“I am absolutely delighted and amazed to receive this special award and so proud and honoured to be representing women scientists in this context. I am very privileged for having been able to pursue my sense of curiosity within the culture of excellence at the Montreal Neurological Institute, as well as to train and encourage talented young students — driving forces throughout my career to which I attribute much of my success,” said Dr. Milner.

“Brenda Milner is a great neuroscientist, and the founder of the field of neuropsychology.  By virtue of her stature as a preeminent scientist, she has greatly advanced efforts to achieve acceptance and respect for women in science,” said Dr. Greengard.

The Pearl Meister Greengard Prize was established by Dr. Paul Greengard, Vincent Astor Professor at Rockefeller University and head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, and his wife, sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. Dr. Greengard donated the proceeds of his 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Rockefeller University and, in partnership with generous supporters of the university, created the annual award named in memory of Greengard’s mother, who died giving birth to him..

About the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital

The Neuro is an academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience.  As a research and teaching institute of McGill University, The Neuro is at the centre of the neuroscience mission of the McGill University Health Centre.  The eminent neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield founded The Neuro in 1934.  Since then, The Neuro has achieved international renown for its integration of research, outstanding patient care and advanced training.  The Neuro has a world-class staff in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience, as well as in the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders.  For more information, please visit