Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital

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Montreal Neurological Institute
Institut et hôpital neurologiques de Montréal
McGill University Health Centre
Montreal Neurological Institute 01.JPG
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital is located in Montreal
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
Location in Montreal
Location 3801, rue University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
H3A 2B4
Coordinates 45°30′33″N 73°34′53″W / 45.509167°N 73.581389°W / 45.509167; -73.581389Coordinates: 45°30′33″N 73°34′53″W / 45.509167°N 73.581389°W / 45.509167; -73.581389
Care system RAMQ (Quebec medicare)
Hospital type Specialist, Teaching
Affiliated university McGill University (Faculty of Medicine)
Emergency department None
Beds 85
Founded 1934

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (French: Institut et hôpital neurologiques de Montréal) is an academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience research, training and clinical care located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The institute is part of McGill University and the hospital is one of the six teaching hospitals of the McGill University Health Centre. They occupy separate sections of the same buildings on McGill's Downtown Montreal campus next to Molson Stadium. The institute and hospital are locally known as "The Neuro".


The MNI was founded in 1934 by the neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield (1891–1976), with a $1.2 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation of New York City and the support of the Government of Quebec, the city of Montreal, and private donors such as Izaak Walton Killam. In the years since the MNI's first structure, the Rockefeller Pavilion was opened, several major structures were added to expand the scope of the MNI's research and clinical activities. The MNI is the site of many Canadian "firsts." Electroencephalography (EEG) was largely introduced and developed in Canada by MNI scientist Herbert Jasper, and all of the major new neuroimaging techniques---computer axial tomography (CAT), positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were first used in Canada at the MNI. Working under the same roof, the Neuro's scientists and physicians made discoveries that drew world attention. Penfield's technique for epilepsy neurosurgery became known as the Montreal procedure. K.A.C. Elliott identified γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) as the first inhibitory neurotransmitter. Brenda Milner revealed new aspects of brain function and ushered in the field of neuropsychology as a result of her groundbreaking study of the most famous neuroscience patient of the 20th century, H.M., who had anterograde amnesia and was unable to form new memories. In 2007, the Canadian government recognized the innovation and work of the MNI by naming it one of seven national Centres of Excellence in Commercialization and Research.

The institute and hospital were administered by the same director until 1963, when, in accordance with Quebec's newly introduced Hospital Act, the Montreal Neurological Hospital was incorporated as a government-funded institution under separate administration. Although the hospital remains a government-funded institution, it was reintegrated with the institute in 2005 under the single directorship of Dr. David Colman, the MNI's director since 2002.

The Montreal Neurological Hospital is one of five separate teaching hospitals of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The MUHC plans to build a medical centre at a site called Glen Yards near downtown Montreal. Discussions surrounding the construction and financing of the MUHC's new centre have dragged on at the mercy of political and economic ups-and-downs for more than a decade. Initial plans were for the MNH and the other members to move to the new facilities, but a strong movement among Neuro staff is trying to keep the institute and the hospital at their original location, preserving the clinical research model that Wilder Penfield established with striking success.[1] In November 2009, the Neuro celebrated its 75th anniversary.

In late 2012, it was formally announced that the MNH will be moving to the Glen Campus MUHC super-hospital upon the latter's completion.

Research and training[edit]

The MNI, wrapping around one end of Molson Stadium.

The Neuro is organized into multidisciplinary teams of basic and clinical research scientists who reveal the workings of the nervous system and apply their knowledge to understand and to treat neurological diseases. The Neuro's activity covers the entire neuroscience spectrum of research and patient care.

The MNI's research units are closely integrated with the MNH's clinical activities. The international scientific community especially recognizes the MNI for its epilepsy research and treatment, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience, neuroimmunology, complex neural systems, as well as for its treatment of neuromuscular disease. The Centre for Neuronal Survival and the Cell Biology of Excitable Tissues Unit carry out advanced studies in molecular and cellular biology, while researchers in the Brain Tumour Research Centre collaborate closely with the Neurosurgical Research Group.

From its beginning, the MNI has promoted an environment for productive translational research. Basic science discoveries are employed to improve patient care. Treatment is provided for patients who have ALS, brain tumours, epilepsy, migraine, multiple sclerosis, pain, Parkinson’s disease, among other neurological conditions. Patients also benefit from technical advances in brain imaging, neuro-radiology, neuro-navigation and neuro-stimulation. Many patients participate through the Clinical Research Unit in controlled studies of the newest treatments.

Former fellows hold prominent positions around the world. Today, trainees from more than 60 countries study at the Neuro. The Integrated Program in Neuroscience (IPN) [1] is the largest neuroscience training program in Canada with more than 160 faculty members and 280 graduate students.

Since December 2016, the Neuro no longer patents researchers' findings, and all research data are published in open access.[2]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Dr. Jacob Chandy (1910–2007) was India’s first neurosurgeon and one of the country’s leading medical educators. He established India’s first Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Christian Medical College and Hospital at Vellore. For the next 20 years, he promoted the Montreal Neurological Institute's model of an integrated clinical-research facility.
  • David H. Hubel (1926 - 2013), Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, 1981. He studied clinical neurophysiology at the Montreal Neurological Institute under Herbert Jasper, a scientist who he later described as "unequalled for his breadth and clarity of thinking in brain science." At Harvard Medical School, Hubel and Torsten Wiesel explored the brain's visual cortex and were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology.
  • John S. Meyer (-2011) is called the "founder of neurology in Japan".
  • Yi-Cheng Zhao (1908–1974) is called the "founder of neurosurgery in China." He established the country's first independent neurosurgical departments in Tianjin and in Beijing, as well as the Beijing Neurosurgical Institute. Dr. Zhao was greatly influenced by Wilder Penfield's qualities as a surgeon, administrator and caring physician. At Dr. Zhao's request, Chairman Mao Ze-Dong invited Dr. Penfield to visit China in 1962. The visit was the first of several exchanges between the Montreal Neurological Institute and China.
  • Dr. John A. Jane ( 1921–Present) is a Neurosurgeon with the University of Virginia and was the Chairman of the University of Virginia from 1969 - 2006, former editor in chief of the Journal of Neurosurgery from 1992 - 2013, and a Cushing Medalist. He completed fellowships in Neuropathology and Neurophysiology at the Montreal Neurological Institute


Historical achievements[edit]

  • First and only neurological institute and hospital in Canada
  • First CT Scanner, PET system and MRI in Canada
  • Developed the "Montreal procedure" for the surgical treatment of epilepsy
  • Electroencephalography
  • First PET images of stroke and brain tumours
  • Pioneered the use of electrical probes in surgery


  • Wilder Penfield, MD (1891–1976) [Director 1934 - 1960]
  • Theodore Rasmussen, MD (1910–2002) [Director 1960 - 1972]
  • William Feindel, MD (1918-2014) [Director 1972 - 1984]
  • Donald Baxter, MD (1926-2012) [Director 1984 - 1992]
  • Richard A. Murphy, PhD [Director 1992 - 2000]
  • Donald Baxter, MD [Director interim, 2000 - 2002]
  • David Colman, PhD (1949-2011) [Director 2002–2011][4]
  • Philip Barker, PhD [Director interim 2011-2012]
  • Guy Rouleau, MD, PhD [Director 2013–Present]



  1. ^ Beauregard, Luc; Bougie, Jacques (10 November 2009), Le Neuro menacé, Montreal: La Presse 
  2. ^ "McGill Neurology will no longer patent researchers' findings, instead everything will be open access". Boing Boing. December 17, 2016. Retrieved December 26, 2016. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ / "David Colman 1949-2011" Check |url= value (help). Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Retrieved 31 October 2010. 

External links[edit]