Professor Brenda Milner CC FRS

A leading expert on memory, Brenda Milner has made significant contributions to our understanding of the brain’s structure and function through long-term studies of patients who have undergone partial brain excisions. Her work is often credited with the creation of the discipline of clinical neuropsychology, which focusses on patient care and behaviour.

Her most famous work investigated Henry ‘H. M.’ Molaison, a patient who suffered from anterograde amnesia after parts of his hippocampus were removed as a treatment for epilepsy. Brenda’s investigation showed that while H. M. could not remember new events, he was capable of learning new motor skills, demonstrating for the first time the existence of multiple memory systems in the brain.

Brenda has received numerous awards in recognition of her work, including the Balzan Prize in 2009 and the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience in 2014. She has also been elected to membership of the Royal Society of Canada and the US National Academy of Sciences. In 2004, Brenda was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada.

Subject groups

  • Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences

    Behavioural neuroscience

  • Health and human sciences

    Clinical neuroscience


  • Balzan Prize

    For cognitive neurosciences.

  • Dan David Prize

    In the field of combating memory loss.

  • Kavli Prize

    In the field of neuroscience for the discovery of specialized brain networks for memory and cognition.

Professor Brenda Milner CC FRS
Elected 1979