Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital

Montreal Neurological Institute
Institut et hôpital neurologiques de Montréal
McGill University Health Centre
Location in Montreal
Location 3801 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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. 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

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.

Throughout its history, the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital has offered outstanding research and clinical training. 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) is the largest neuroscience training program in Canada with more than 160 faculty members and 280 graduate students.

Notable alumni


Historical achievements




  1. Beauregard, Luc; Bougie, Jacques (10 November 2009), Le Neuro menacé, Montreal: La Presse
  3. / "David Colman 1949-2011" Check |url= value (help). Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
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