‘It’s a long, long time I’ve been here’: Montreal pioneering neuroscientist turns 101

Brenda Milner celebrates her 101st birthday with friends and colleagues at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Thursday, July 18, 2019. Sylvain Trudeau/Global News

A special birthday celebration for a remarkable Montrealer was held Thursday at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI).

Friends, students and colleagues gathered to wish pioneering neurospyschologist Brenda Milner a Happy 101st birthday.

Milner turned 101 on July 15.

The auditorium at the Neuro was filled, as the institute screened a film about Milner’s groundbreaking research into human memory.

Milner finished her PhD at McGill University under psychologist Donald Hebb in 1952, before accepting a tenured position studying epilepsy patients at the MNl.

READ MORE: Scientist who pioneered memory research turning 100

“Looking back to 1952 … it’s a long, long time I’ve been here,” a grateful Milner told the crowd.

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“I’m really lucky to have fallen on my feet here, to have had the chance to come here in the first place and had such wonderful patients to study, and such great colleagues and wonderful students. So it’s really un gros merci à tout le monde.”

Her contributions changed the understanding of  how different brain structures control different learning, memory and speech functions.

WATCH: Therapy dogs soothing patients at the MNI

Click to play video: 'Therapy dogs at the Montreal Neuro' Therapy dogs at the Montreal Neuro
Therapy dogs at the Montreal Neuro – Jun 14, 2018

By combining the disciplines of psychology and neurology in her research, Milner is also credited by many with creating the fields of cognitive neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology.

In speeches before and after the presentation, Milner was lauded as a “rockstar”  and the “jewel of the MNI.”

“I’m a little bit overwhelmed,” a modest Milner said.

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The British native is a Companion of the Order of Canada as well as a member of the Order of Quebec.

While Milner has slowed down in recent years, she is still active at the MNI.

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