Mary Louise Nickerson Award in Neuro History

Mary Louise NickersonEstablished in 2011 by Granville H. Nickerson, MDCM, in honour and in memory of his wife, Mary Louise, who was an inspiration to many of Dr. Nickerson’s classmates of McGill’s Medicine Class of 1945, an acknowledged scholar and an enthusiastic promoter of the Arts.  The award allows a scholar to carry out research utilizing the Neuro History archival and artifact collections, the centre piece of which is the Penfield Archive in the Osler Library, and other resources available at the Osler Library, the Montreal Neurological Institute and the McGill University Archives.  The Osler Library’s collections are listed in the McGill Library Catalogue and the Osler Library Archives Collection website.

Terms:  Value varies depending on the project, to a maximum of $10,000.  More than one recipient may be selected during each fiscal year.  The recipient is required to carry out research in Montreal during the 2018-19 fiscal year (May 2018- April 2019).  May be renewable. 

Requirements: We invite applications from a variety of individuals, including graduate students, scholars and professionals.  Preference will be given to applicants spending at least one month in Montreal and who take advantage of the rare and unique materials held in the Osler Library and McGill University.  Recipients are requested to submit a report of their work suitable for publication in the Osler Library Newsletter and may be requested to give a brief presentation at the University.

How to Apply:  Applicants should fill in the application form.  Applicants must also submit a CV, a detailed project proposal and arrange for two letters of recommendation, as described in the application.  Electronic submissions are preferred.  Please send all documentation attached to an email to osler.library [at]  Files should have the name of the applicant, Nickerson, and the year (e.g. Smith_Nickerson_2018_application).  All applicants will also be considered for the the Dr. Dimitrije Pivnicki Award in Neuro and Psychiatric History.

Deadline: December 31, 2017

For More Information: please contact the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University, osler.library [at] or 514-398-4475, ext. 09873

Congratulations to our 2017 winners!

  • Prof. Anna Louise Penner is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her current book project, "Enter Patient: Experiencing Hospitals and Health Care in Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture," draws on the William Osler and Wilder Penfield archives to investigate how the nineteenth-century rise in hospital building, and the changing priorities according to which hospitals were designed and located, affected how they were perceived by patients, medical professionals, and the public.

  • Daniel M. Wiley is a PhD student in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. His dissertation explores the twentieth-century development of the ability to mediate cultural activities in micro-temporal increments and will explore the development and application of micro-temporal technology to neuroscience from the 1930s in North America while at the Osler Library.

  • Tabea Cornel is a PhD student in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation focuses on handedness research within the brain and mind sciences in Europe and North America, particularly theories of the origin, prevalence, and pathological nature of left-handedness.

Previous winners


  • Dr. Bettina Bock Von Wülfingen completed her PhD in Cultural History and Theory from the Humboldt University of Berlin. Her project, History of Neuro-Regeneration, aims to research the role of Montreal, the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), and Wilder Penfield in the international history of neuro-regeneration research, with the eventual goal of publishing a monograph and articles that will rectify the shortfall in the existing research.
  • Dr. Delia Gavrus is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg. Her project, Delicate Performances: Identity, Technique and the Emergence of Neurosurgery (1910-1960), will assist her in finalizing her book manuscript of the same name.

  • Yvan Prkachin is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. His project, Wired Together: Surgery, Psychology and the Role of Montreal in the Creation of Modern Neuroscience, 1934-1975, will examine the social, cultural and intellectual conditions that allowed for the collaboration between neurologists, neurosurgeons and psychologists at the MNI, and will be used as research for his dissertation.

  • Dr. Tiffany Hoffman completed her PhD in English from McGill University. Her project, ‘Minds Transfigured:’ Converting Consciousness and Emotion in Early Modern England, will consider how the early modern body and passions directly influenced the production of higher order cognitive functions, such as awareness, reflection, morality and conscience.


  • Eric Oosenbrug is a PhD candidate in the History & Theory of Psychology program at York University in Toronto. His project, Constituting Pain: Integrating Psychology and Medicine at McGill University in the Postwar Era, investigates the development of pain research in the mid-twentieth century in Montreal, and will be used as research for his dissertation.

  • Dr. Patricia Rosselet is a research collaborator in the Faculty of Biology and Medicine at Lausanne University. Her project, From the Body to the Brain: Publishing and Representing Images in Neurosciences, aims to investigate a paradigmatic shift in neurological images, and to determine when and why it took place. Her research will be used as preparation for an article.


  • Dr. Diego Iacono is the Director of Neuropathology Research at the Biomedical Research Institute of New Jersey and Atlantic Health System. His project, The Frontal Lobes: From the Wilder Penfield Revolution to the Fronto-Temporal Dementias Today. A Journey into Creativity and Human Behavior, aims to organize, analyze, and interpret archival material from the Penfield collection concerning possibly “unusual” cases, as well as to consult material present at the MNI and McGill University as related to “artistic” or “enhanced creativity” cases. This archival neuro-historical research is primarily intended for publication in a specialized journal of medicine history or neuro history.

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