William Feindel

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William Feindel
Born William Howard Feindel
(1918-07-12)July 12, 1918
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
Died January 12, 2014(2014-01-12) (aged 95)
Montreal, Quebec
Fields Neurosurgery
Alma mater Acadia University
Dalhousie University
McGill University
Merton College, Oxford

William Howard Feindel, OC GOQ FRSC (July 12, 1918 – January 12, 2014) was a Canadian neurosurgeon, scientist and professor.[1]

Born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, he received a B.A. in Biology from Acadia University in 1939, a M.Sc. from Dalhousie University in 1942, and an M.D., C.M. from McGill University in 1945.[2] Attending Merton College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar he received his D. Phil in 1949.[3][4]

After completing his residency, Feindel was in neurosurgical practice for two years with Wilder Penfield at the Montreal Neurological Institute. In 1955 he founded the Neurosurgical Department at the University Hospital in Saskatoon.[2]

In 1959 Feindel re-joined the Montreal Neurological Institute where he founded the William Cone Laboratory for Neurosurgical Research and became the first William Cone Professor of Neurosurgery and then Director of the MNI from 1972 to 1984. During this tenure he led a clinical neuroscience team to acquire the first CAT and combined MRI/S units in Canada and to develop the world's first PET system utilizing a prototype Japanese "Baby" cyclotron and the MNI-designed BGO crystal PET scanner for detecting brain tumours and stroke. He integrated these systems into a Brain Imaging Center (BIC), within a major extension of the MNI, opened in 1984 and since then recognized as a leading world center for clinical diagnosis, teaching and research in neuro-imaging.

In the early 1950s, during brain mapping studies with Penfield and Jasper, Feindel discovered the role of the amygdala in patients with temporal lobe seizures, which, with related studies at the MNI, led to the operation of antero-mesial temporal lobe resection often referred to as "the Montreal procedure", an operation adopted worldwide for the surgical cure of many thousands of patients with epilepsy.

Feindel was curator of the Wilder Penfield Archive.[5] He was the Chancellor of Acadia University from 1991 to 1996 and then Honorary Governor.[3] In 1998 he was elected Honorary Osler Librarian by the Board of Curators of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill University. At the 2005 Neuro Convocation, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Montreal Neurological Institute. He was Senior Consultant in Neurosurgery and Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University and Director of the Neuro-History Project at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

He died at the Montreal Neurological Institute after a brief illness.



  1. ^ "William Feindel (1918-2014)". McGill University. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  2. ^ a b c "Canadian Medical Hall of Fame citation". 
  3. ^ a b "The Society of Neurological Surgeons profile". The Society of Neurological Surgeons. 
  4. ^ Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900-1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 304. 
  5. ^ "Notable Figures". Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. 
  6. ^ a b c "Honorary degree recipients citation". University of Saskatchewan. 
  7. ^ "Royal Society of Canada". 
  8. ^ Order of Canada citation
  9. ^ "National Order of Quebec citation" (in French). 
  10. ^ "La Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain rend hommage aux quatre nouveaux Grands Montréalais 2004" (in French).