Brenda Milner, CC, GOQ, DSc, PhD (Retired)

Brenda Milner, CC, GOQ, DSc, PhD (Retired)
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brenda.milner [at]
Hospital title: 
Dorothy J. Killam Professor

Dr. Brenda Milner is the Dorothy J. Killam Professor at The Neuro, and a professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University.

Dr. Milner obtained her B.A. (1939) and M.A. (1949) in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge. She completed her PhD in Physiological Psychology in 1952 under the supervision of Dr. Donald Hebb at McGill. Dr. Milner obtained her D.Sc. in 1972 in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Milner has had an extraordinary influence on the shape of neuroscience and on the work of scientists around the world. The origins of modern cognitive neuroscience of memory can be traced directly to her rigorous and imaginative studies. Dr. Milner's research focuses on cognitive function in the frontal and temporal lobes of humans. She uses positron emission tomography (PET) and functional MRI to identify the brain regions involved in language processing in both unilingual and bilingual volunteer control subjects as well as in patients with brain lesions that are in close proximity to areas critical for language. In another series of PET studies, she has sought to delineate further the role of the right hippocampal region in memory for the spatial location of objects. 

Dr. Milner has published extensively, is a sought-after lecturer, and has received many accolades throughout her long career. She is a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) - one of only sixteen from Canada. She was elected to the Academy in 1976 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. She has been awarded Honorary Degrees from more than 20 different universities across Canada, the States and Europe.

She is the recipient of numerous academic awards. Dr. Milner’s most recent accolades include the prestigious Dan David Prize and the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience in 2014, the Prix Hommage du 50e anniversaire from the Ordre des psychologues de Quebec and induction into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame in 2012, the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize in 2011, the Norman A. Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, the International Balzan Foundation Award ($1 million) and the Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience by NARSAD in 2009,  the NSERC Medal of Excellence (2009 and 2010), the Gairdner International Award in 2005, and the Prix Wilder Penfield (Prix du Québec,) in 1993. Dr. Milner is a fellow of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada.  She is a Companion of the Order of Canada and in 2009 was promoted to Grand Officer of the Order of Quebec. 

Selected publications: 

Klein, D., Zatorre, R.J., Milner, B. and Zhao, V. A cross-linguistic study of tone perception in Mandarin Chinese and English speakers. NeuroImage, 13, 646-653, 2001.

Crane, J. and Milner, B. Do I know you? Face perception and memory in patients with selective amygdalo-hippocampectomy. Neuropsychologia, 40, 530-538, 2002.

Köhler, S., Crane, J. and Milner, B. Differential contributions of the parahippocampal place area and the anterior hippocampus to human memory for scenes. Hippocampus, 12, 718-723, 2002.

Milner, B. The medial temporal-lobe amnesic syndrome. In Neuropsychiatry, S. Riggio (Editor) Psychiatric Clinics of North America, New York, Elsevier Saunders, 28, 599-611, 2005.

Crane, J. and Milner, B. What went where? Impaired object-location memory in patients with right hippocampal lesions: Hippocampus, 15, 216-231, 2005.

Klein, D., Watkins, K., Zatorre, R.J. and Milner, B. Word and nonword repetition in bilingual subjects: A PET study. Journal of Human Brain Mapping, 27, 153-161, 2006.

Research areas: 
Cognitive Neuroscience

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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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