Dr. Sandra F. Witelson
Sandra F. Witelson, Ph.D., FRSC is a Professor, The Albert Einstein/Irving Zucker Chair in Neuroscience, in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences, at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario. In June 1999, Witelson attracted global attention when she published "The Exceptional Brain of Albert Einstein" in the British medical journal The Lancet. Witelson's research also investigates the basis of language and visuospatial abilities in the right and left brain hemispheres. Witelson's research helped establish that the mental divide between the sexes is more complex and more rooted in fundamental biology than many scientists once suspected. Witelson developed a Brain Collection housed at McMaster University that now contains over a hundred brains of normal men and women. She also has a portion of Einstein's brain.
- Social, Political
- Education, Learning Issues
- Diversity, Culture
- Dr. Witelson obtained a B.Sc., M.Sc. (Appl.), and then a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from McGill University in 1966.
- She subsequently held a U.S. National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, which allowed further study in biological psychology at New York Medical School, N.Y.C.
- She has played a critical role in legitimizing new methodologies to study topics such as sex differences in the brain, sexual orientation and the biological basis of intelligence, topics previously bedeviled by the stigma of social, political and philosophical controversy and misconception.
- Dr. Witelson's research findings have been reported in hundreds of newspapers, magazine articles, and television documentaries internationally since the early 1970s with her discovery of brain factors in childhood reading problems, including the New York Times, The LA Times, London Times, The Globe and Mail.
- Her current work focuses on postmortem neuroanatomical study based on the Brain Collection at McMaster University, which has become an international public resource for neuroscience and forefront work in brain imaging of living people.
- She is the recipient of many prestigious international awards including the Morton Prince Prize from the American Psychopathological Association, the John Dewan award from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry Research Award for outstanding research in the field of mental health carried out in Canada.
- Dr. Witelson is one of only 6 Canadians among the 250 elected members to the international Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, NYC.
- She is an elected Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), the highest national society of scientists and scholars.
- Dr. Witelson was inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction in 2007.
- She was ranked as the most popular female scientist in Canada on Science.ca with over 250,000 hits (http://www.science.ca/scientists/scientists.php?v=mostPopular) .
In Her Words
"We held Einstein's brain in our hands and realized that this is the organ that was responsible for changing our perceptions of the universe, and we were in awe."
"People are fascinated by brain research because, after all, the brain is what we are. Human beings interpret the world the way the brain perceives the world, and so its structure, and the relationship between its structure and our behavior, is very intriguing to us. It is also crucial information for progress in human society."
Key NotesFee Range: 10,000 to 15,000 CDN Lives In: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
- Beautiful Brain: The Einstein Connection
- Dispatches From the Neurological Frontier: What Cutting-Edge Brain Research Tells You About Genius, Gender and How Your Mind Works
- One Brain, Two Systems: Male/Female
- "Dr. Witelson readily engaged the students and scored a 4.5 out of 5 in keynote speaker evaluations." -- The Northeastern Undergraduate Organization for Neuroscience