Remembering Richard A. Murphy

Richard A. Murphy - May 20, 1944 – March 24, 2022

Richard Murphy was Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute from 1992-2000.  He was the first PhD scientist to hold the position and during his tenure, the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) hired more than twenty faculty members, establishing a strong and vibrant molecular and cellular research group.  Understanding that there was a desire in Montreal and beyond to support the institution, Rich bolstered the Neuro Development office, inspired the community and spearheaded the campaign to build the Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Rich was known and highly regarded for his mentorship – he was a strong advocate for the faculty, especially those early in their careers.  He established an internal grant review process, encouraging colleagues to mentor and guide each other.  As a result of this process which continues to this day, the MNI’s faculty continue to have success in grant competitions well above the national average. His legacy at the MNI is lasting.

Boston Globe Obituary notice

Born May 20, 1944, in Revere, Massachusetts; died March 24, 2022, in La Quinta, California, surrounded by his loving family. Known to one and all as “Rich,” he leaves his wife of 53 years, Elaine Murphy (née Finnegan) and their three children and their families: daughter Janet Murphy, M.D. and her husband Devin Advani and their sons Nick, 18, and Adam, 14, of Arlington, Massachusetts; son Mark Murphy and his wife Glyncora and their daughter Lily, 3½, of New York City; and Alison Murphy and her husband Jeremy Byrgesen and their son Jack, 5 months, of North Vancouver, British Columbia. He also leaves two brothers and their families: Ken Murphy, M.D. and his wife Rosemary of Freeport, Maine; and Mike Murphy and his partner Cheryl of North Conway, NH.

A neuroscientist (AB, Holy Cross College 1966; M.S. Northeastern University 1970; Ph.D, Rutgers University 1974), Rich began his career as a researcher and much-awarded teacher at Harvard Medical School (1974 to 1986). In 1986 he and his family immigrated to Edmonton, Alberta, where he joined the University of Alberta's Medical Faculty as Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology (1986 to 1992). He then became Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec (1992 to 2000); President and CEO of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, California (2000 to 2007); and Interim President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, San Francisco, California (2007 to 2008).

Over the course of his career, Rich touched the lives of many. He was widely admired for his integrity and his generosity as a mentor to the many students and faculty members in his charge. He was also known for his clever humor. His passions in life were his family, his love for science, boating on Lake Sunapee, NH., and the game of golf. He was a member of Nashawtuc Country Club, Concord, Mass. and Baker Hill Golf Club, Newbury, NH.

A private memorial celebration is being planned for Rich in Boston later in spring. Donations in his memory are welcome either to the American Brain Tumor Association ( or to the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund (, which awards need-based college scholarships to deserving young men and women who have worked at Massachusetts golf courses.

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.




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